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Brittney Griner was announced as an honorary WNBA All-Star on Wednesday while she remains in Russian custody after being arrested in February.

The WNBA has revealed the players who will participate in the All-Star Game. Sue Bird, Sylvia Fowles, A’ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart and Sabrina Ionescu were among them. But Griner stayed ahead as the season nears its midpoint.

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Brittney Griner (42) of Phoenix Mercury is congratulated for her play against the Seattle Storm during the first half of the second round of the WNBA basketball playoffs on Sunday September 26, 2021 in Everett, Washington.
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

“In every season of Brittney’s career that there was an All-Star Game, she was selected as an All-Star,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said. “It’s not hard to imagine that if BG were there with us this season, she would be selected again and would no doubt show off her incredible talents, so it’s only fitting that she is named an honorary starter today and we continue to work on his safe return to the United States.”

Griner was arrested in February for allegedly bringing vape cartridges containing cannabis-derived oils into a Moscow airport. His detention had been extended until July 2.

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Brittney Griner Named Honorary WNBA All-Star

A young Phoenix Mercury fan holds up a “Free Brittney Griner” sign during a WNBA basketball game against the Las Vegas Aces, Friday, May 6, 2022, in Phoenix.
(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

The US State Department reclassified her status as “wrongfully detained”.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told NBC News in a recent interview that Griner’s detention was not to “be a hostage.” He said his arrest was no different from any other person.

“She broke Russian law, and now she’s being prosecuted. It’s not about being a hostage. There are a lot of American citizens here. They enjoy their freedoms…but you have to obey the laws” , Peskov told the outlet.

Brittney Griner Named Honorary WNBA All-Star

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert speaks before the WNBA basketball draft, Monday, April 11, 2022, in New York City.
(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

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Griner could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.


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