Basketball player Brittney Griner wearing a Phoenix jersey in a picture taken on October 13, 2021.
Phoenix (USA) – American basketball player Brittney Griner will continue her career in the WNBA in the Phoenix jersey after a ten-month imprisonment in Russia. She has signed a one-year contract with her current club, Mercury management announced.
“It's a great day for all of us to announce that Brittney Griner has signed with the Mercury for this year. We've missed her every day,” club general manager Jim Pitman said in a statement. “This is an extraordinary signing and an extraordinary day,” he added.
Phoenix will enter the new WNBA season on May 19 at the Los Angeles Sparks.
Griner, 32, was arrested a year ago at the Moscow airport , because she was carrying electronic cigarette refills containing hemp oil. In August, a court sentenced her to nine years in prison for drug smuggling. She got home in early December after exchanging prisoners for Russian arms dealer Viktor But.
Already then, Griner announced that she wanted to return to basketball. The Phoenix made her the number one draft pick in 2013 and she has spent all nine seasons with the club. In 2014, she won the league with the Mercury team, twice she was an eight-time participant in the All-Star Game as the competition's top scorer (2017 and 2019). With the American national team, she won the Olympic tournaments in Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo, she is also a two-time world champion and a four-time winner of the European League with Yekaterinburg.