She wants to raise awareness about other American detainees.
WNBA player Brittney Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a six-time WNBA All-Star with Arizona’s Phoenix Mercury. During the off-season, like many women’s basketball players, Griner spent her time playing overseas to bring in extra income, a routine that she never thought would put her in harm’s way, the Associated Press reports.
Last February, Griner traveled to Moscow to rejoin her UMMC Ekaterinburg team, a Russian women’s team she had been playing with since 2014. She ended up arrested at the airport on drug-related charges after officials found cannabis oil in her bag and her life drastically changed forever.
“That day was the beginning of an unfathomable period in my life which only now am I ready to share,” Griner said.
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For 10 months, Griner was detained in a Russian prison, just as Russia invaded Ukraine. The Biden administration negotiated on Griner’s behalf seemingly to no avail as fans rallied around Griner demanding her release. She was finally released in December 2022, freed in exchange for an infamous Russian arms dealer named Viktor Bout. Now Griner is breaking her silence on the ordeal, penning an upcoming memoir.
“The primary reason I traveled back to Russia for work that day was because I wanted to make my wife, family, and teammates proud. After an incredibly challenging 10 months in detainment, I am grateful to have been rescued and to be home. Readers will hear my story and understand why I’m so thankful for the outpouring of support from people across the world,” she explained.
It is Griner’s hope that by telling her story, she can raise awareness regarding other American detainees overseas.
Since being home, Griner has been focused on how she can use her experience to help others. She will play with the Phoenix Mercury this upcoming season and her new memoir is set to be released in Spring 2024.
Cover photo: Brittney Griner set to release memoir about harrowing experience in Russia/Photo Courtesy of Evan Millstein/Alfred A. Knopf