LeBron James says jailed WNBA player may not even want to return to US in face of Biden’s indifference

In a new episode of his show “The Shop,” billionaire basketball player LeBron James suggested that Brittney Griner—the women’s basketball star who is languishing in a Russian prison—might not even want to return to the United States.

The reason? Because Joe Biden has done absolutely nothing to secure her release. Maybe they should have voted for Trump.

Griner, a 31-year-old professional basketball player who had been playing in Russia, was arrested at the Moscow airport in February on the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; she was arrested for allegedly smuggling two vape cartridges containing cannabis oil into Russia, which isn’t exactly on easy diplomatic terms with the US these days. She now faces ten years in jail, and has repeatedly pleaded with Biden and Kamala Harris to do all they could to help secure her release—but that’s amounted to very little.

In fairness, there’s little the Biden administration can do, given that the two countries have practically been on the precipice of a war for the last several months—but that’s likely small consolation for Griner and her family.

“How can she feel like America has her back?” James wondered, in a teaser for the new episode of his show.

“I would be feeling like ‘Do I even want to go back to America?'” he whined. No doubt much of America would prefer he didn’t and is wishing James, instead of Griner, was the one cooling his heels in a Russian prison.

Meanwhile, Griner has been incarcerated for over 100 days and has pleaded guilty to the drug charges.

“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor,’ Griner informed a judge during a hearing in her case on Thursday. “But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law.”

People who are familiar with the byzantine legal system in Russia say that pleading guilty was likely a strategic move on Griner’s part, and was probably the best option for her. For one thing, those who plead innocent in Russia are unlikely to be acquitted. William Pomeranz, an expert on Russian law, told ESPN that 99% of Russian criminal cases end in a conviction and that acquittals are a “fantasy for average Russians,” let alone hated Amerikanskis in an obvious political trial.

But by pleading guilty, Griner could make her time in a Russian prison slightly less nightmarish, by slipping under the radar of vindictive Russian officials and also setting herself up for a prisoner swap. Some have floated the notion of exchanging her for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, the so-called “Merchant of Death,” but the disparity in crimes between the basketball player and the deadly terrorist makes such a prospect unlikely.

Griner recently sent a letter to President Biden pleading with him to help secure her release.

“On the 4th of July,” she wrote, “our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran. It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.

“I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees. Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you,” Griner wrote.

“I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore. I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home.”


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Todd Jaquith


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