After a tumultuous year, WNBA star Brittney Griner has signed a one-year contract with her former team, the Phoenix Mercury, for the 2023 season, ESPN reports.
The basketball star last played for the Mercury in 2021, when she led them to the WNBA Finals.
In February 2022, Griner was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for possessing less than a gram of cannabis oil.
Griner’s fate took a turn for the worse when she was sentenced to nine years in prison. After losing an appeal, she was transferred to a Russian penal colony.
“Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said last fall. “As we have said before, the U.S. Government made a significant offer to the Russians to resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detentions of American citizens.”
After a vigorous movement to release her from prison and bring her back to the states, Griner was finally freed in December 2022 after a prisoner swap initiated by the Biden administration.
“Today, my family is whole. But as you all are aware, there are so many other families who are not whole,” Griner’s wife Cherelle Griner said at the time. “BG’s not here to say this, but I will gladly speak on her behalf and say that BG and I will remain committed to the work on getting every American home, including Paul (Whelan), whose family is in our hearts today, as we celebrate BG being home.”
The WNBA season will start Friday, May 19, when the Mercury play the Los Angeles Sparks in an away game.