Brittany Griner signs contract with Phoenix Mercury, returns to basketball court after 10 months of Russian nightmare

After a grueling 10 months in a Russian prison and the dramatic inmate exchange that brought her home last December, WNBA star Brittany Griner will be back on the court with her team, the Phoenix Mercury, who drafted her first in 2013 for a 10th season. Was. The website “Her Hoops Stats” first reported Griner’s signing.

The 6-foot-9 center last played for the Mercury in 2021, which was one of the best years of her career as she averaged 20.5 points and helped her team reach the WNBA Finals.

Griner’s new one-year contract will pay her $165,100 – reportedly less than the $1 million she was earning Russia where she played For seven years during the WNBA off-season. It ended a year ago, just a week before Russia invaded Ukraine and Griner was taken into custody at Moscow airport for possessing less than a gram of cannabis oil.

since returning to America instead Russian arms dealer Victor Bout, Griner has kept a low profile. He was first seen in public in a Martin Luther King Jr. Event in Phoenix, where she lives, then later came the next day at the Phoenix Open Super Bowl,

The two-time Olympic gold medalist (2016, 2020) did not attend a USA Basketball training camp earlier this month, even though the organization made it clear that it will take all the time it can to decide whether it will whether the team wants to play in the USA or not. ,

Once it became clear that she was returning to the basketball court sooner, the WNBA said it would address the issue of providing Griner with special travel accommodations, such as charter flights, as a safety precaution.

“We are very cognizant of BG’s unique situation,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert told the AP earlier this month. “We are planning and we are discussing it with security experts, BG’s side, our side. We will find the right time to comment on that when she signs with a team.”

Photo by Keaton Gayle on Shutterstock

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