‘I Intend To Play Basketball’: Brittney Griner To Re-Sign With Phoenix Mercury This Season
Sticking to her word, seven-time WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner plans to return to the Phoenix Mercury this season under a one-year contract, the Associated Press reports.
Griner, 32, played nine seasons with the Mercury after being drafted No. 1 by the team in 2013. As of Saturday (Feb. 18), the WNBA website has her listed under the Mercury’s roster, though the official announcement of her re-signing hasn’t been announced.
“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,’” the WNBA star wrote on Instagram in December in her first social media post after a 10-month imprisonment in Russia.
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During the 2021 season, Griner helped lead the team to the WNBA finals, averaging 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds for the season.
2022 was a chaotic year for the Olympic champion. On Feb. 17, 2022, she was arrested by Russian authorities on drug charges after they claimed Griner had hashish oil in her bag at the airport.
She stepped foot on U.S. soil for the first time in 10 months on Dec. 9, 2022 after a prisoner swap in Russia. U.S. authorities released Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout (a.k.a. “merchant of death”). He served 14 years of his 25-year prison sentence.
For the most part, Griner has remained under the radar, only making a few appearances since her release, keeping it local: Phoenix MLK Day event, the Phoenix Open and the Super Bowl hosted in the home stadium for the Arizona Cardinals.
Griner decided to opt out of USA basketball training camp in Minnesota in order to recover from the traumatic Russian jail time, and to spend time with her wife, Cherrlle Griner.