5 things about WNBA star jailed in Russia – Hollywood Life +2023

Brittney Griner

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Credit: CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Shutterstock

  • Brittney Griner is a WNBA star.
  • In the off-season, she played for a Russian basketball team.
  • She was arrested in March 2022 for possession of marijuana vape cartridges. She was sentenced to 9 years in prison in August.
  • She was returned to the United States on December 9, 2022 following a prisoner swap.

Brittney Griner is free. The 32-year-old WNBA star landed in San Antonio, Texas on December 9, 2022 after 294 days in Russia and months of untold torment.

Brittney’s release was announced by the President on December 8, 2022 Joe Biden. It was reported that she was released in exchange for a Russian arms dealer Victor fightwho was arrested in 2008 for conspiring to kill Americans.

The President spoke about how much work went into securing her release after it was held at a White House news conference not long after the announcement. Brittney’s wife Cherelle was by his side.

“The last few months have been hell for Brittney,” he said. “I’m happy to say that Brittney is in good spirits. She’s relieved to finally be going home, and the fact remains that she lost months of her life and experienced needless trauma. She deserves space, privacy and time with loved ones to recover and heal from her wrongful imprisonment.”

Brittney was originally arrested at an air post near Moscow in March 2022 for having marijuana vape cartridges. She was sentenced to nine months in a penal colony after pleading guilty in July 2022. Her arrest came as Russia began its war against Ukraine, and many believe the athlete’s detention was used by the Kremlin for political gain.

Learn more about Brittney here.

Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner was reportedly arrested in Russia in February 2022 on drug-related charges. (CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Shutterstock)

Brittney was a college phenomenon

Griner is the only NCAA basketball player to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots while playing for Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She was also named AP Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

She is a pro basketball legend

Griner was voted an All-Star a total of seven times while playing as center for the Phoenix Mercury. She won Olympic gold medals with the US women’s national basketball team in both 2020 and 2016.

Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner was arrested at a Russian airport in February 2022 for reportedly carrying marijuana vape cartridges. (Rick Scuteri/AP/Shutterstock)

Brittney plays for a Russian team in the off-season

Griner has played for Russian team Ekaterinburg in the Euroleague since 2015 during the WNBA offseason, where salaries for WNBA players are higher. On Saturday, a WNBA spokeswoman said that all WNBA players except Griner are not in Russia and Ukraine.

She was bullied as a child because of her sexuality

Griner publicly came out as a lesbian in an interview sports illustrated on February 11, 2013. “It really wasn’t too difficult, I wouldn’t say I was hiding or anything,” she explained. “I’ve always been open about who I am and my sexuality. If I can show that I’m out and I’m fine and okay, then hopefully the younger generation will feel the same way.”

She also revealed she was bullied as a child, saying: “It’s hard. You just get teased for being different. Just being bigger, my sexuality, everything.”

Brittney has split from her pregnant wife

On May 8, 2015, Griner married a longtime friend and fellow WNBA Glory Johnson. Griner left Johnson 28 days after their wedding and shortly after Johnson announced she was pregnant with IVF twins. The couple’s divorce was finalized in June 2016.

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