LeBron James has addressed Brittney Griner’s detainment in a new video, just one week after comparisons between the two stars went viral.
James said he would reconsider returning to the United States in light of the country’s efforts to bringing Griner back home. “Now, how can she feel like America has her back?,” he asks in the clip above. “I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even want to go back to America?”
This isn’t the first time James has addressed Griner’s situation. In June, he tweeted that we need to “come together and help do whatever we possibly can” to bring Griner back to the United States.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 6, 2022
Vanessa Nygaard, head coach of Griner’s WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, suggested last week that if James were the one in Russia, he would be back on U.S. soil by now. “If it was LeBron, he’d be home, right?,” she asked. “It’s a statement about the value of women. It’s a statement about the value of a Black person. It’s a statement about the value of a gay person. All of those things. We know it, and so that’s what hurts a little more.”
The White House received a handwritten letter from Griner on July 4 in which she asked that President Joe Biden not “forget about me and the other American Detainees,” adding, “Please do all you can to bring us home.” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that Biden read the letter and has made her return a priority.
.@PressSec on letter from Brittney Griner to President Biden: "The president did read the letter…This is an issue that is a priority for this president…We believe she is wrongfully detained. We believe she needs to come home." pic.twitter.com/yh3EN2vMkU
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 5, 2022
Griner pleaded guilty to an illegal crossing of a customs border with illegal narcotics charge. Her next scheduled court appearance will take place on Thursday. She is facing up to 10 years in prison. The New York Times reports Griner’s guilty plea could pave the way for a potential exchange between the U.S. and Russia where the WNBA star will return home for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is already a decade into his 25-year prison sentence.
Bout’s actions served as the inspiration for the film Lord of War, starring Nicholas Cage.
The next episode of The Shop will premiere on July 15 at 12 p.m. ET on the UNINTERRUPTED YouTube channel.