(Phoenix) American basketball player Brittney Griner, detained for several months in Russia and released at the end of 2022, urged American detainees in Russia on Thursday in Phoenix to “stay strong”.

“I would say to anyone who is wrongfully detained: stay strong, keep fighting, don’t give up,” the WNBA star replied, at times in tears, during his first press conference since returning to the States. -United.

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and ex-US Marine Paul Whelan are currently being held in Russia.

As she prepares to resume her career, Griner has vowed to continue to fight on behalf of all those wrongfully detained around the world.

When asked what his message would be for Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, Griner replied, “I would say to everyone wrongfully detained around the world: stay strong, keep fighting, don’t give up. “.

“Stay awake, find a little routine and stick to it as best you can, that’s what helped me,” she continued.

Griner even cried when talking about her Russian ordeal, but said that the experience gained in her basketball career had helped her find a form of resilience during her detention.

“You know, I’ve been through some tough times,” she admitted, her voice cracking with emotion. “Throughout life, we face adversity. And this one was strong.”

Griner was, however, aware when she was in prison that people were fighting for her.

“The information sometimes arrived with a little delay, but I was aware of the efforts that were made in my favor,” she acknowledged. “It gave me hope, which can also be dangerous because when it doesn’t work, it’s terrible.”

Brittney Griner, figure of the LGBT community, double Olympic gold medalist, was arrested in February 2022 at a Moscow airport with a vaporizer and liquid containing cannabis, a product banned in Russia.

She had been hired by the Russian team from Ekaterinburg, during the American off-season, a common practice.

In August, she was sentenced to nine years in prison and then, after her appeal was rejected, was transferred in November to a penal colony in central Russia.

Brittney Griner was eventually traded for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, a prisoner in the United States.