Basketball star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittany Griner has re-signed with the Phoenix Mercury for one year, NBC News confirmed.
A statement officially announcing the signing is expected on Tuesday, according to a source close to Griner.
According to WNBA.com, the athlete has played for the Mercury throughout her WNBA career, which began in 2013. She missed the entire 2022 season while imprisoned in Russia for nearly 10 months.
Griner has previously stated that she wants to play through the 2023 season. The move clears any doubts about the team.
Griner was freed from a Russian penal colony in December after the Biden administration negotiated his release in exchange for arms dealer Viktor Bout.
According to Russian authorities, he was arrested at a Moscow airport in February 2022 for allegedly arriving in the country with vape canisters containing cannabis oil in his luggage. Griner pleaded guilty at his trial in July but said he had no criminal intent. The canister, which was prescribed to treat her chronic pain, was inadvertently packed as she hurriedly prepared for her flight, she said.
In his first comments after being released in a prisoner exchange, Griner wrote on Instagram that living in Russian custody for nearly 10 months was an emotional battle.
Griner wrote, “I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love of so many of you that helped me carry on.” “Thank you everyone for your help, from the bottom of my heart.”
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