WNBA star Brittney Griner called on Americans to “keep fighting” just months after her release from Russian prison during an address at the 54th NAACP Image Awards.
Griner, who was imprisoned for months on drug charges in Russia last year, made the powerful call alongside her wife, Cherelle Griner, in an appearance that made NBA icon Dwyane Wade emotional in the audience on Saturday.
“It feels so good to be here, especially with my beautiful, amazing wife and with all of y’all here today,” the WNBA star said.
“I want to thank everyone and let’s keep fighting to bring home every American still detained overseas.”
Moments before the WNBA star’s address, Cherelle Griner thanked Black women and Black-led organizations “who fought so hard” for Griner’s release in December.
The ceremony’s host Queen Latifah introduced Griner and her wife prior to their brief appearance and said she was “back here with us where she belongs.”
She later hugged Latifah and bumped her first following the exchange.
The 32-year-old basketball star recently signed a one-year contract extension with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, the team that drafted her with the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft.
Griner has made a number of public appearances since her release including attending the WM Phoenix Open earlier this month.
She’s also used her time in the wake of her frightening ordeal to call for the release of Paul Whelan, another American who has been incarcerated in Russia.
“I hope you’ll join me in writing to Paul Whelan and continuing to advocate for other Americans to be rescued and returned to their families,” she wrote on Instagram days before Christmas.