A Free Brittney

WNBA Star Brittney Griner Announces Upcoming Memoir Detailing 10-Month Detainment in Russia

After enduring a harrowing ordeal, WNBA star Brittney Griner is ready to talk all about it in an upcoming memoir. 

Griner took to social media to make an announcement that she would be writing a new book detailing the events of her imprisonment in Russia. 

“I arrived in Moscow to rejoin the UMMC Ekaterinburg basketball team and was immediately detained at the airport,” shared Griner via Instagram. “That day was the beginning of an unfathomable period in my life which only now am I ready to share.”

Griner routinely played basketball in Russia to supplement her salary during her team’s, the Phoenix Mercury, offseason. Last February, Griner was arrested in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport where authorities found vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her luggage. Consequently, the two-time Olympic gold medalist was sentenced to 9 years in a Russian penal colony, where she was transported in November 2022. 

Griner was released from detainment in the form of a prisoner swap between her and Viktor Bout, an international arms dealer who was initially a part of a 2-for-1 exchange for Griner and U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who has been detained since 2018. Bout, nicknamed “Merchant of Death”, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for conspiring to kill U.S. citizens and for selling weapons to terrorists in Colombia. Griner was released, but Whelan still remains in Russian custody.

“The primary reason I traveled back to Russia for work that day was because I wanted to make my wife, family, and teammates proud,” said Griner. “After an incredibly challenging 10 months in detainment, I am grateful to have been rescued and to be home. Readers will hear my story and understand why I’m so thankful for the outpouring of support from people across the world.”

Her untitled memoir will be published by publishing house Alfred A. Knopf. The publishing house released a statement on Tuesday indicating that Griner would disclose “in vivid detail her harrowing experience of her wrongful detainment (as classified by the State Department) and the difficulty of navigating the byzantine Russian legal system in a language she did not speak.”

The 32-year-old’s memoir will be her second book, following her 2014 book ​​In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court

“By writing this book, I also hope to raise awareness surrounding other Americans wrongfully detained abroad such as Paul Whelan, Evan Gershkovich, Emad Shargi, Airan Berry, Shahab Dalili, Luke Denman, Eyvin Hernandez, Majd Kamalmaz, Jerrel Kenemore, Kai Li, Siamak Namazi, Austin Tice, Mark Swidan and Morad Tahbaz,” said Griner. 

While detained, Griner missed out on the 2022 WNBA season. Thankfully, she will return to the courts this year, as she re-signed with the Phoenix Mercury in February of this year. In 2013, Griner was the number one draft pick to the team.

Griner’s upcoming memoir will be published in Spring 2024.

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