The WNBA star walked alongside her wife and fans in tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.
Brittney Griner made a special appearance at a march in Phoenix, Arizona, in tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday. It's the first public outing of the WNBA star since she was released from a Russian penal colony on Dec. 8.
According to local NBC affiliate KPNX, Brittney and her wife, Cherelle, were spotted posing for photos with fans and seen riding on a golf cart looking relaxed at the event. "Glad to be home," Brittney told fans during the event.
Cherelle shared photos to her Instagram Story of the two posing in front of festive signage, holding, "Won't he do it," signs. "Happy MLK Day," she captioned the slide.
It's been a little over a month since the WNBA All-Star returned home after her 10 month-long detention in Russia.
Brittney's ordeal started in February, when Sheremetyevo International Airport authorities allegedly found four vape cartridges containing hash oil, a concentrated form of cannabis that is illegal in Russia, in her luggage. She was later sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison.
The 32-year-old athlete was released in a one-for-one prisoner swap for notorious international arms dealer Viktor Bout, bringing an end to an ordeal that sparked intense high-level negotiations between Washington and Moscow to secure her freedom.
"I thought I would be full of tears, but I was overwhelmingly happy," she said. "It was the first time I was able to finally exhale, and I'm like, 'Oh, thank God. This is such a great day.'"
Cherelle couldn't get face-to-face with Brittney for a while, though, as medical professionals had to evaluate the pro athlete first. "Those seconds," Cherelle said, "couldn't go by fast enough."
Finally, Cherelle and Brittney were reunited at last. "I couldn't stop touching her face," Cherelle says. "I was like, 'Is this really you?' It did not feel real. It was chilling -- and warm. I was just holding on tight. I couldn't let her go."
While both Cherelle and Brittney are all too aware of what they've been through, they're "mindful of the fact you can't go backwards."
"It's unfortunate that those 10 months happened without us being able to be side-by-side. But it happened, and we're embracing the fact that we now get to learn each other's story through that time," Cherelle shared. "So we're taking it slow. We are not doing it all at once. But we are honoring the fact that I went through something that was really hard and difficult without BG's awareness, and vice versa. Day by day, we're just feeding a little bit to the soul and understanding each other's journey so we can actually start walking together."
She added that the couple is trying to get back to some sense of normalcy, with the understanding that "the normal we are referring to was what we were doing before February 17."
"We reminisce about certain things in the past," Cherelle said. "Still, we're trying to make sure we're not going backwards. For the most part, we're eyes focused on what's in store next for the both of us."