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Brittney Griner makes appearance at Rev. Al Sharpton event

ASSOCIATED PRESS / APRIL 11
                                WNBA Phoenix Mercury basketball player Brittney Griner, right, sits next to her wife, Cherelle Griner, during the first inning of a baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers in Phoenix.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS / APRIL 11

WNBA Phoenix Mercury basketball player Brittney Griner, right, sits next to her wife, Cherelle Griner, during the first inning of a baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers in Phoenix.

NEW YORK >> WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner made a surprise appearance Friday at a women’s empowerment luncheon held during the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in New York City.

Griner, who this week announced that she would write a book about her nearly 10-month detainment in Russia, thanked those gathered at the luncheon for the advocacy that contributed to her release in last December.

“Everyone in this room that came together, that sent up every prayer, it reached me while I was there,” Griner, 32, told a packed hotel banquet hall in midtown Manhattan.

“I want to continue to fight to bring every American detained overseas,” she said.

For months during her detainment, Sharpton, Black clergy and racial justice activists across the U.S. pushed U. S. officials to secure the basketball star’s release. She was freed in exchange for the notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Sharpton presented Griner with an award, saluting the strength she exhibited during her detainment.

The 6-foot-9 Griner has re-signed with the Phoenix Mercury and will resume her WNBA career when the season tips off next month.

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