Phoenix Mercury's Comeback Star Brittney Griner Is All Smiles!

Dani Sanders
Brittney Griner
Shutterstock | 840655

The WNBA is a much-awaited event for basketball fans who cheer for their favorite teams and players with all their enthusiasm. But this season all eyes are going to be on a specific player, who is entering the court after a year-long absence. 

Brittney Griner has returned to the United States and is all set to make her comeback in the WNBA with Phoenix Mercury. But what happened in that one year? Here are all the details about Brittney Griner's case below.

A Core Member Of The Phoenix Mercury

Brittney Griner was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury for her WNBA debut and has since then been an integral addition to the team.

The 2014 WNBA Crown

After joining the team, Brittney assisted Phoenix in winning their 3rd WNBA championship after five long years.

She Wowed At the Olympics

Griner’s achievements go beyond the WNBA. She has also won two gold medals for the US women’s basketball team at the Olympics held in Tokyo and Rio.

The Master Of Impeccable Records

Brittney Griner
Giphy | WNBA

Brittney played her last basketball match back in February 2022, when she was averaging over 20 points and had around 10 rebounds per game.

Return Trip From Moscow

While returning from Moscow, where she had gone to play a basketball match in February 2022, airport officials found marijuana vape cartridges in her luggage.

Things Take A Downturn

Following this, the BBC commented on viral security footage of Brittany sitting across from a man and shaking her head. Then suddenly, the basketball world went into an uproar as mugshots of the WNBA player surfaced on state television.

Smuggling Charges

Although the amount of cannabis oil found in her cartridges was minute, the Russian authorities charged her with drug smuggling allegations.

Detained In Russia

Convicted with such heinous charges, Griner was transferred to a penal colony in Russia for nine years.

A Horror Story

Former inmates from the same penal colony have talked about receiving harsh beatings and severe labor when sharing their experiences in these types of notoriously horrific colonies.

Wrongful Imprisonment

Brittney Griner
Giphy | Storyful

Fans, athletes, and government officials around the world were in turmoil following the detainment of the WNBA player. The US officials even deemed the whole fiasco as wrongful imprisonment.

Growing Concerns Between Russia and America

Since Russia had only recently invaded Ukraine, the political tension between the two countries was at an all-time high and Russia made its score by arresting the 32-year-old player.

A Historical Exchange

Finally, Griner was released when the US agreed to release the convicted Russian murderer and arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for the WNBA player.

Who Is Victor Bout?

The New York Times tweeted about Victor Bout, naming him as an arms dealer who supplied arms to Al Qaeda, rebels in Rwanda, and the Taliban while also being involved in several murder conspiracies against Americans.

Griner Sets Foot On American Soil Again

Brittney Griner Welcomed Back
Giphy | Storyful

On December 8, 2022, the basketball wonder returned to the United States and refused to make any public appearances.

An Insta Declaration of Gratitude

The basketball ace privately thanked her fans and supporters through an Instagram post where she shared her relief at returning home. She even expressed her readiness to advocate for other Americans imprisoned wrongfully abroad.

Joins Hands With Phoenix

On 21 Feb, Phoenix Mercury welcomed their ace player through a progression of tweets on their main page.

Thus, Continues a 9-Year Old Ordeal

Brittney Griner has been a part of the Phoenix Mercury team for nine years and has recently signed a one-year deal with the basketball club again.

42 Spotted On The Courts Again!

In a series of images released by Mercury, Brittney is seen stepping back on the courts for the first time since her return. The 32-year-old basketball star was all smiles in her comeback practice session, sporting the Phoenix Mercury jersey with a golden chain and a fresh new look.

All Eyes On May 19

On May 19, Phoenix Mercury is all set to compete against Los Angeles Spark, and while both sides battle for the win, the world will be focused on Brittney’s comeback.