Home Brittney Griner, back on American soil, plans to return to the WNBA in 2023

Brittney Griner, back on American soil, plans to return to the WNBA in 2023

Chris Graham
Brittney Griner
(© Keeton Gale – Shutterstock)

Brittney Griner is back on American soil, she’s throwing down dunks, and the news today is, she’s looking forward to returning to the WNBA next year.

“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,” Griner wrote on Instagram on Friday.

In the post, she acknowledged that the past 10 months “have been a battle at every turn,” referring to her time in custody in Russia, after being detained in February following a search of her luggage at an airport scan that came up with vape cartridges that contained, combined, less than a gram of cannabis oil.

For this, she was tried, convicted and ultimately sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony, before being released last week in a prisoner exchange for notorious Russian arms deal Viktor Bout, known by the sobriquet “Merchant of Death.”

Good news being what it is in today’s crass social environment, the trade has been blasted by some in conservative circles because of their politics.

That doesn’t change the fact that Griner was unlawfully detained, and was in essence a political prisoner, at a time when US-Russia relations are at a point roughly equivalent to the height of the Cold War.

Let’s finish up this report on the basketball side. Griner, 32, is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a three-time college All-American, and a six-time WNBA All-Star.

In her most recent WNBA season, in 2021, the 6’9” center averaged 20.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists for the Phoenix Mercury, leading the team to an appearance in the WNBA Finals, where they lost in four games to the Chicago Sky.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].