Brittney Griner Returns to Familiar Territory

WNBA star signs with Phoenix of the WNBA after being released from detention in Russia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 19, 2023 5:30 AM CST
Brittney Griner Returns to Familiar Territory
Phoenix Mercury's Brittney Griner (42) in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Brittney Griner is headed back to the world of pro basketball. Griner signed a one-year deal with the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury to play in the upcoming season, reports the AP. The 32-year-old missed all of the 2022 season after a 10-month ordeal in Russia that included time in a Russian jail. Griner had been arrested at an airport just outside of Moscow on drug charges and was brought home in a dramatic high-level prisoner exchange in December. The 6-foot-9 center last played for the Mercury in 2021 and helped the team reach the WNBA finals. The Mercury's 2023 season opens on May 19.

According to ESPN, Griner will earn a salary of $165,100. (By contrast, the average NBA salary in the 2021-22 season was $8.5 million, per the Hoops Geek.) The website “Her Hoops Stats” was the first to report the signing. Griner, who was drafted No. 1 in 2013 by the Mercury, was listed Saturday on Phoenix's roster on the WNBA website. Since returning home from Russia, Griner has largely been out of the public spotlight, with the exception of appearances at the Super Bowl, the Phoenix Open, and an MLK Day event in Phoenix, where she lives. The WNBA has said it will address getting Griner special travel accommodations, such as charter flights.

(Read more Brittney Griner stories.)

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