Brittney Griner Attends Phoenix Open in 2nd Public Appearance Since Russian Prisoner Swap

"Glad to be home," Brittney Griner previously said as she made her first public appearance since her release, stepping out with wife Cherelle for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Phoenix

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Darryl Webb/AP/Shutterstock (13764049ao) American professional basketball player Brittney Griner acknowledges fans as she watches on the 16th hole during the third round of the Phoenix Open golf tournament, in Scottsdale, Ariz Phoenix Open Golf, Scottsdale, United States - 11 Feb 2023
Photo: Darryl Webb/AP/Shutterstock

Brittney Griner is enjoying a sporting weekend ahead of Super Bowl Sunday.

After she was released from a Russian jail in a prisoner swap in December, the WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, 32, made her second public appearance as a free woman with wife Cherelle Griner on Saturday at the WM Phoenix Open golf tournament.

They both appeared to be in good spirits, as Brittney smiled and shot a peace sign at her supporters in the stands.

Brittney and Cherelle, 30, previously stepped out for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in Phoenix last month. "Glad to be home," she told supporters during the outing.

The Phoenix Mercury center was detained in Russia on drug smuggling charges in February for allegedly possessing hash oil in her luggage.

Brittney Griner Reintegration anfter release from a Russian Jail. December 10, 2022. Fort Sam Houston Credit: Miguel Negron/U.S. Army South
Brittney Griner returning home to the U.S. on Dec. 8, 2022. Miguel Negron/U.S. Army West

Before she was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison in August, Brittney testified that she "had no intention to break the law" and did not mean to pack the cannabis oil.

Brittney's imprisonment sparked a national outcry for her release, as President Joe Biden entered negotiations to exchange the release of the athlete and Paul Whelan, another American prisoner, for a Russian prisoner in the U.S.

The prisoner swap took place Thursday, Dec. 8. in the United Arab Emirates, 10 months after Brittney was first incarcerated. "It feels so good to be home," she wrote in a heartfelt statement shortly after her release.

August 4, 2022, Moscow, Russia: US Olympic basketball champion BRITTNEY GRINER attends the verdict announcement at the Khimki Municipal Court in the town of Khimki, northeast of Moscow. Griner has been found guilty of smuggling and possession of drugs and sentenced to nine years in prison. (Credit Image: © Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS via ZUMA Press)
Brittney Griner during her detention in Russia. Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS/ZUMA

"The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn," added Griner in part. "I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going."

Although Whelan, 53, who has been imprisoned in Russia for alleged espionage since 2018, was not released in the deal, Biden, 80, assured that his administration is "not giving up" on securing Whelan's safe return to the U.S.

RELATED VIDEO: Brittney Griner Lands in U.S. After Russian Prison Release: 'Welcome Home BG!'

The Griners have since raised awareness for Whelan and other political prisoners, urging their fans to write him letters through the #WeAreBG campaign. "It's our turn to support them," Brittney wrote in December.

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Brittney has been getting back into the game following her release, expressing that she plans to play with the Phoenix Mercury again when the 2023 season starts in May.

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