Brittney Griner Named Honorary 2022 WNBA All-Star Starter

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 22, 2022

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JUNE 21: "We Are BG 42" is displayed on the exterior of Footprint Center before the WNBA game between the Phoenix Mercury and the Minnesota Lynx on June 21, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.  Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury was detained on February 17, at a Moscow-area airport after cannabis oil was allegedly found in her luggage. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Brittney Griner will be a WNBA All-Star for the eighth time in her career.

The league announced Wednesday that Griner, who has been detained by authorities in Russia since February, was named an honorary All-Star starter. The U.S. State Department has classified the Phoenix Mercury star as wrongfully detained for 125 days as of Wednesday.

"During each season of Brittney's career in which there has been an All-Star Game, she has been selected as an All-Star," WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said. "It is not difficult to imagine that if BG were here with us this season, she would once again be selected and would, no doubt, show off her incredible talents. So, it is only fitting that she be named as an honorary starter today and we continue to work on her safe return to the U.S."

On Monday the Mercury tweeted "123 days. Bring Brittney home."

Phoenix Mercury @PhoenixMercury

123 days. <br><br>Bring Brittney home. <a href="https://t.co/HWWvzn17hR">pic.twitter.com/HWWvzn17hR</a>

This announcement comes after Eric Tucker of the Associated Press reported a scheduled phone call between Griner and her wife, Cherelle, that was supposed to take place on their fourth anniversary on Saturday never happened because of what a government official said was an "unfortunate mistake."

Cherelle Griner and Brittney Griner have not spoken on the phone since she was detained at a Moscow airport in February. Administration officials said Tuesday they were working to reschedule the call.

As for the All-Star Game, the WNBA announced the other starters Wednesday as well.

A'ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces and Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm will be paired with retiring legends Sue Bird of the Storm and Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx and will draft from a list of other starters and reserves on July 2.

Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones, Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike, Chicago Sky forward Candace Parker, New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu, Las Vegas guard Kelsey Plum and Las Vegas guard Jackie Young will also be starters for the July 10 game in Chicago.

Griner made her seventh All-Star Game last season when she averaged 20.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.