‘I’m just happy’: Henrico native and WNBA player speaks on Brittney Griner’s release

Henrico county officials also are making the sports and event center a reality
Tonight, we're getting reaction to Griner's release from a Henrico native and current WNBA player.
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 6:20 PM EST
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Henrico county officials take their next big step in making the sports and event center a reality.

On Thursday, the Henrico Board of Supervisors, Henrico Sports and Entertainment Authority, Richmond Region Tourism, and other county leaders gathered to sign a massive steel beam that will later sit at the facility’s top.

The 115-thousand-square-foot facility will have room for twelve basketball courts or 24 volleyball courts and an arena with stadium seating.

County leaders were joined by one Henrico County native and currently WBNA player Taja Cole at Thursday’s event.

Cole graduated from Lloyd C. Bird High School and Virginia Tech and is now in her rookie year as a point guard for the WBNA Connecticut Suns. She says she’s thrilled to see the sports and event center once it’s complete.

She says she hopes it brings in athletes from all over the world.

“It’s important to have a reliable place for youth to come to. I didn’t have that growing up. We always had to book time slots for certain gyms or high schools, just places like that,” Cole said.

The current free agent was also shocked by the big announcement of Brittney Griner being released from Russian detention on Thursday.

It’s news Cole says she didn’t expect to hear.

“Family is huge to me, and I know her family missed her so much,” Cole said. “She’s a huge impact to women’s basketball and just to everybody.”

She says she did not know Griner personally but says this is a sigh of relief for the entire WBNA community, and her return has been long overdue.

“I know the W misses her. All the players in the W were fighting hard to get her back here. So many other sports, NFL players, actors, leaders in the world, and just to see us all put our helping hands together to finally get her back here, I think that’s amazing. I’m just happy,” Cole said.

Construction of the athletic complex is expected to be completed by the fall of 2023.