For nearly all of her detainment in Russia, Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner has been isolated from the outside world.
One of the few exceptions to that, it turns out, comes in the form of a new private email account set up by her agent.
Griner has received hundreds of emails and letters from WNBA players, and she’s been able to respond to some of them, according to The Associated Press’ Doug Feinberg.
Though the process is complicated — Russian officials have to vet every email before they print them out and deliver them in bunches to Griner, and Griner will have to write a response by hand or dictate it to her lawyers — it’s something.
“When she responded to my second letter it blew me away,” Los Angeles Sparks forward Amanda Zahui B. said, . “I was like, ‘She responded!!’ In my third letter, I was like, ‘Hey best friend, we are officially best friends now.’”
Surprisingly, Zahui B. said, Griner is upbeat.
“She jokes in her letters. I don’t know how she does it with what she’s going through,” Zahui B. said, . “She’s an amazing soul. She brings light in a situation like this. I don’t think a lot of people could manage to do that.”
Griner has been detained in Russia for more than 100 days after officials said they at a Moscow airport earlier this year.
Russia is reportedly open to a deal with the United States that would release Griner in exchange for for nearly 15 years.
What comes next for Griner isn’t known. Her detention has been extended already through the middle of June.
Though her future is uncertain, New York Liberty coach Sandy Brondello is jumping at the chance to at least talk to her former player again.
“I’m going to tell her that I love her and that I’m thinking about her,” Brondello said, . “That’s my girl, it’s terrible. She’s been there too long.”