Who is Brittney Griner? Why was the basketball star detained in Russia?

Brittney Griner was released by Russia on December 8. Find out why the American Basketball star was detained.
Who is Brittney Griner?

The American Basketball star Brittney Griner was detained in Russia in February for allegedly carrying illegal cannabis oil. The WNBA star has spent the past 10 months in jail.

This Thursday, December, 8th, United States officials announced after weeks of negotiations, the 32-year-old American basketball star Brittney Griner was traded for Russian Arms Dealer Viktor Bout.

For a long time the State Department of the United States and Griner's family, friends, and fans have been pleading with Russia to free her.


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Who is Brittney Griner?

  • Brittney Yevette Griner or popularly known as American All-star basketball star Brittney Griner was born on October 18, 1990
  • She is an American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). 
  • Initially, Griner played college basketball for the Baylor Lady Bears in Waco, Texas.
  • Griner is the only NCAA basketball player to both score 2,000 points and block 500 shots.
  • The player is 6 ft 9 in (206 cm) tall and has an arm span of 87.5 in (222 cm).

 Brittney Griner: Timeline 





Griner was named the nation's number one high school women's basketball player by Rivals.com.


Griner was selected to the All-American basketball team.


Griner was the first overall pick by Phoenix Mercury 


Griner became an eight-time All-star and won WNBA Championship


In the Rio Olympics, Griner led the United States women's national basketball team to victory.


Won the FIBA Women's World Cup with the US team for the second time.


Protested against the Star Spangled Banner and said she would not be at the court while the national anthem was played during game openers.


Won her second gold medal in the Tokyo Japan Olympics and was named to the US Women's national team.


Detained by Russian customs officials and Released by Russia on December 8.


What happened?

  • On February 17, 2020, Griner was at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport when the Russian customs authorities found cartridges with cannabis oil in Griner's luggage.
  • The Basketball star was arrested at the airport on suspicion of felony narcotics smuggling. The crime carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
  • Griner had been entering Russia to play with the Russian Premier League during the WNBA off-season. 
  • On December 8, Griner was released by Russia in a prisoner exchange for the Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was convicted of conspiring to kill Americans and had served 10 years of a 25-year sentence.

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