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Britney Griner Returns to WNBA After Spending a Year in a Russian Jail

Eight-time All-star basketball player Britney Griner who won the title with Phoenix Mercury in 2014 has made her comeback to the WNBA after spending a year in a Russian jail, the ESPN has reported. The 6-foot-9 Griner who is now a free-agent had been with Mercury since 2013.

The 32-year-old two-time Olympic champion, Britney Griner was released from a Russian jail in December as part of a prisoner swap. She was arrested in February 2022 at a Moscow airport and charged for illegal possession of cannabis. She was reportedly carrying vape cartridge in her luggage which contained hashish oil.Griner was sentenced to a nine-year term and sent to one of Russia’s most notorious penal colonies.

She was released in December 2022 as part of a prisoner swap between the United States and Russa. The arms dealer Viktor Bout was swapped in return after months of prolonged negotiations that took place in the backdrop of the Ukrainian invasion.

Griner has avoided public interaction since her return but she had sent out a message to her fans thanking them for their support and signalling her intent to make her return to basketball.

“I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon,” she had said.

Griner had one of the best years of her career in 2021 when the Phoenix Mercury made it to the WNBA finals but lost to Chicago Sky.

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Written by Aliyah Collins