Brittney Griner: 5 Things About WNBA Star Detained In Russia – Hollywood Life

Brittney Griner: 5 Things About The WNBA Star Freed From Russian Prison

The Olympic gold medalist is back in the United States after a successful prisoner swap. Find out all about Brittney Griner here.

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  • Brittney Griner is a WNBA star.
  • She played for a Russian basketball team during the offseason.
  • She was arrested in March 2022 for possessing marijuana vape cartridges. She was sentenced to 9 years in prison in August.
  • She was returned to the U.S. on Dec. 9, 2022 after a prisoner swap.

Brittney Griner is free. The WNBA star, 32, touched down in San Antonio, Texas on Dec.  9, 2022, after 294 days in Russia detention and months of untold anguish.

Brittney’s release was announced on Dec. 8, 2022 by President Joe Biden. It was reported that she was released in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who had been arrested in 2008 for conspiring to kill Americans.

The president spoke about how much work went into securing her release after she was arrested in a White House press conference held not long after the announcement. Brittney’s wife Cherelle was at his side.

“These past few months have been hell for Brittney,” he said. “I’m glad to be able to say Brittney is in good spirits. She’s relieved to finally be heading home, and the fact remains that she’s lost months of her life, experienced a needless trauma. She deserves space, privacy and time with her loved ones to recover and heal from her time being wrongfully detained.”

Brittney was initially arrested in Mar. 2022 at a Moscow-area airpost for having marijuana vape cartridges. She was sentenced to 9 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 being used by the Kremlin for political gains.

Find out more about Brittney here.

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

Brittney Was A College Phenom

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

She Is A Basketball Pro Legend

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

Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner was detained at a Russian airport in Feb. 2022 for reportedly carrying marijuana vape catridges. (Rick Scuteri/AP/Shutterstock)

Brittney Plays For A Russian Team In Offseason

Griner played during the W.N.B.A. off-season for the Russian team Ekaterinburg in the Euroleague since 2015, where salaries are higher for WNBA players. On Saturday, a W.N.B.A. spokeswoman said all W.N.B.A. players besides Griner were out of Russia and Ukraine.

She Was Bullied As A Child For Her Sexuality

Griner came out publicly as a lesbian in an interview with Sports Illustrated on February 11, 2013. “It really wasn’t too difficult, I wouldn’t say I was hiding or anything like that,” 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 everything’s OK, then hopefully the younger generation will definitely feel the same way.”

She also revealed she was bullied as a child, saying, “It’s hard. Just being picked on for being different. Just being bigger, my sexuality, everything.”

Brittney Split From Her Pregnant Wife

On May 8, 2015, Griner married longtime girlfriend and fellow W.N.B.A. player Glory Johnson. Griner left Johnson 28 days after they were married, and shortly after Johnson revealed she was pregnant with IVF twins. The couple’s divorce was finalized in June 2016.