Brittney Griner Makes Decision on WNBA Career Following Prison Release

Brittney Griner has decided on her WNBA career after being detained in Russia for 10 months. According to ESPN, the 32-year-old basketball star has signed a one-year, $165,00 contract with the Phoenix Mercury. She returns to the team that drafted her No. 1 overall in 2013. Her Hoop Stats was the first to report the news of Griner's WNBA return.

Griner last played for the Mercury in 2021 when she led the to an appearance at the WNBA Finals, which the team lost to the Chicago Sky. She missed the entire 2022 season due other being in prison in Russia. Griner was arrested in February 2022 after Russian authorities said she was carrying vape canisters with cannabis oil. After months of negotiations, Griner was released from detainment via a prisoner swap on Dec. 8. Griner was exchanged in the United States Arab Emirates for Russian Arms Dealer Viktor Bout.

Shortly after returning to the United States, Griner went to Instagram to send a message to her fans. "I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help," Griner wrote in the Instagram post. "I am grateful to each person who advocated for me, especially my wife, Cherelle Griner, my family, Lindsay Kagawa Colas and Casey Wasserman and my whole team at Wasserman, Vince Kozar and the Phoenix Mercury, the players of the WNBA, and my entire WNBA family, Terri Jackson and the WNBPA staff, my Russian legal team Maria Blagovolina and Alex Boykov, the leaders, activists, and grassroots organizations, Gov. Richardson and Mickey Bergman of the Richardson Center, the Bring Our Families Home Campaign, Roger Carstens and the SPEHA team, and of course, a special thank you to President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Blinken and the entire Biden-Harris Administration."

Griner is one of the most successful players in WNBA history. She has been selected to play in the All-Star game eight times, won the scoring title twice, led the league in blocks eight times, won the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award twice, was selected to the All-WNBA Team six times and led the Mercury to a WNBA title in 2014. Griner is a member of the WNBA 25th Anniversary Team and a two-time Olympic gold medalist.