THE BALL – Brittney Griner was the ubiquitous absentee at the ‘All Star Game’ (WNBA)

The 31-year-old American Brittney Griner, 31, base of the Phoenix Mercury, was, even absent because detained since February 17 in Russia, the ubiquitous absentee at the WNBA All Star Game, which was held this Sunday. at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, and which resulted in the victory of A’ja Wilson’s team, the Las Vegas Aces, by 134-112 against Breanna Stewart, a result relegated to the background given the delicate situation of the double Olympic (Rio-2016 and Tokyo-2020) and world champions (2014 and 2018).

WNBA honorary nominee for base five Brittney Griner, who is on trial in Khimky court for allegedly trafficking a banned substance (an oil or vaporizer believed to contain cannabis), has seen the league continue to pay her salary, despite being detained for almost five years. months for an alleged crime punishable by ten years in prison, although the White House considers his detention “unlawful” and classifies him as a “hostage”.

All the players from both teams entered the field for the warm-up with the name of Brittney Griner and her usual number, 43, stamped on the shirts: so that no one forgets the most ubiquitous absentee in the reserved game to the best.

With Brittney’s wife, Cherelle – who increased contacts with the State Department to obtain the release of her husband, while in Russia, and even in preventive detention, Brittney wrote to the president, Joe Biden, and obtained from him the guarantee that everything is done to ensure his safe return to the United States – watching the first half of the game on the bench and comforted by all [foto de capa].

The most chilling moment of the night in Chicago, the announcement, by the arena’s sound system, of the name of the basketball player, detained at Moscow airport during his return to the USA after playing a few months for the UMMC team Ekaterinburg (1st division of Russia) during the defense of the WNBA.

Last Thursday, the 7th of this month, Brittney pleaded guilty to “all charges” and claimed before the bar that she never intended to violate Russian laws. In his defense, he added that the item seized from his luggage would have been the result of the rush to pack his bags and not miss the plane to the United States, where the 2022/23 WNBA season started he two months ago.

A renowned sports professional caught in the “snowball” of growing tension between Russia and the United States, amplified by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, underway since February 24, a week after the arrest of Brittney Griner, with the escalation of tension between the two “blocks”. ‘ to nothing to favor.

Therefore, the result of the match, always a spectacle much appreciated by fans of the best basketball on the planet, appears, in this context, relegated to the background. Kelsey Plum, who scored 30 points (12 converted on 18 field goal attempts) — to which she added two rebounds and three assists — was named the game’s MVP.

An All Star Game where, in addition to Brittney Griner, two players who have already announced their retirement at the end of the current season also received a special tribute: Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) and Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx).

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