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WNBA star Brittney Griner featured in Phoenix Mercury hype video while detained in Russia

SportWNBA star Brittney Griner featured in Phoenix Mercury hype video while detained in Russia


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WNBA star Brittney Griner was featured in the Phoenix Mercury’s hype video on Monday, which was released days before the 2022 season begins.

The video has voice-overs from Mercury players Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi as the team gets ready for another Finals run. Griner gets a prominent display at the 54-second mark.

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 A sign reading "Free Brittney Griner" is seen on a television camera during the championship game of the Big West Conference basketball tournament between the Cal State Fullerton Titans and the Long Beach State 49ers at Dollar Loan Center on March 12, 2022 in Henderson, Nevada.

 A sign reading “Free Brittney Griner” is seen on a television camera during the championship game of the Big West Conference basketball tournament between the Cal State Fullerton Titans and the Long Beach State 49ers at Dollar Loan Center on March 12, 2022 in Henderson, Nevada.
(Sam Morris/Getty Images)

“And times that are dark,” Diggins-Smith says while the video pans to Griner and she and Taurasi explain why playing for the city of Phoenix matters to them.

There’s no speaking part about Griner specifically, but her detention in Russia is weighing heavily on the organization and the league as the season gets set to tip-off on Friday. The Mercury will play the Las Vegas Aces at home.

Sophie Cunningham was among those who talked about the star center being absent from the team last month.

BRITTNEY GRINER’S DETENTION WEIGHS HEAVILY ON TEAMMATES AS SEASON APPROACHES: ‘WE MISS HER LIKE CRAZY’

Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury celebrates during Game Four of the 2021 WNBA Finals on Oct. 17, 2021 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois.

Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury celebrates during Game Four of the 2021 WNBA Finals on Oct. 17, 2021 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

“We’ve just got to keep praying for her,” Cunningham said Monday. “We hope she’s well. That’s all we know, you guys know as much as we do. No one wants to be in her situation. We miss her like crazy.”

Cunningham emphasized she was worried for Griner as a human being, not about how her absence will affect the team going forward.

“It’s BG, there’s no one like her in the whole world. We definitely miss her, but it’s not even about basketball anymore. We just want her to be well as a human being. She has a big stage, a lot of people know her, so we want her to be on the court,” she added. “Everyone who loves her just wants her to be home safe.”

Griner was arrested in February after Russian officials said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis.

Griner could face up to a decade in prison if she’s convicted.

FILE - Phoenix Mercury's Brittney Griner, left, watches practice with teammate Diana Taurasi on Thursday, May 10, 2018, in Phoenix.

FILE – Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner, left, watches practice with teammate Diana Taurasi on Thursday, May 10, 2018, in Phoenix.
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

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It’s unclear whether the latest prisoner swap between the U.S. and Russia will have any bearing on Griner’s case. Russia exchanged jailed U.S. Marine Trevor Reed for Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was serving a 20-year federal sentence for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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