A beaming Brittney Griner returns to the basketball court to practice with Phoenix Mercury
Brittney Griner beamed as she returned to the basketball court a year after being arrested and sent to a Russian prison.
The 32-year-old WNBA star beamed as she shot baskets just days after re-signing to a one-year contract with Phoenix Mercury. The season starts in May.
Griner had said she would be returning to Phoenix in a social media post in December after returning home from her 10-month ordeal in Russia.
Griner was arrested a year ago at an airport near Moscow for drug possession and brought home in December in a dramatic high-level prisoner exchange.
Brittney Griner, 32, beamed as she returned to the basketball court a year after being arrested and sent to a Russian prison
Griner wrote on a whiteboard in the Mercury dressing room that read, “I’m BACK MF!!”
Griner was arrested a year ago at an airport near Moscow for drug possession and brought home in December in a dramatic high-level prisoner exchange
The 6-foot-9 center last played for the Mercury in 2021 and helped the team reach the WNBA Finals. She averaged 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds this season.
Photos of the star were posted to the team’s social media platforms this week.
Griner grins in one of the photos as she prepares to kick the ball on the court.
Another photo shows a note from Griner on a whiteboard in the Mercury dressing room that reads, “I’m BACK MF!!”
The signing of the one-year contract worth $165,100 was confirmed on Tuesday.
“It’s a great day for all of us to announce that Brittney Griner has officially signed to play for Mercury in 2023,” said Jim Pitman, Mercury general manager.
“We will continue to leverage our organization’s resources to support her on and off the floor, and we are happy for her that she can return to the basketball she loves so much.” This is a special signing and today is a special day for all of us.’
Griner has not played for the Mercury since 2021, when she led Phoenix to the WNBA Finals before losing to Chicago Sky.
The former Baylor star was released from a Russian penal colony in December after being taken over by convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout in a US-Russia prisoner swap.
Griner, who had been playing professionally in Russia since 2014, was returning to the country in February when she was stopped at Moscow Airport with what authorities claimed were vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.
Brittney Griner has completed her return to Phoenix Mercury, the WNBA team confirmed Tuesday
Griner hugs her wife after returning to the United States from Russia via the United Arab Emirates
Griner arrived at Kelly Field in San Antonio after being released as part of the prisoner swap in December
Griner was returning to Russia in February when she was stopped at Moscow airport with what authorities claimed were vape cartridges containing cannabis oil
Griner is being held in a prisoner’s cage outside of Moscow after the court’s verdict in August
Ultimately, Griner was convicted in August and sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony. A later appeal was rejected in October.
She had been assigned to a penal colony in Mordovia, a region known for its brutal prison system, until the Biden administration secured her release earlier this month. She was detained in Russia for 10 months.
“President Biden, you brought me home, and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home, too,” she said in December.
“I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you. I also encourage everyone who helped bring me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole.’
The Biden administration spent months negotiating with the Kremlin to bring Griner and Whelan back from Russia, but only managed to get the WNBA star in exchange for Bout.
“I don’t think any of us will forget where we were on December 8th when we heard that BG was coming home, or December 15th when she announced that she intended to go beyond just playing basketball in 2023 , but that it would be for the Mercury,” Mercury President of Operations Vince Kozar added Tuesday.
“And I know none of us will ever forget what it’s going to feel like to see her on March 21.
“To know BG is to love and appreciate BG and we can’t wait to show her that in person with thousands and thousands of her biggest supporters at our Welcome Home Opener in exactly three months time.”
Since returning from a Russian penal colony where she was serving time on drug charges, Griner has been spotted with her wife, Cherelle, at Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona
Griner has not played for the Mercury since 2021, when she led Phoenix to the WNBA Finals
Griner is seen being escorted ahead of a verdict in her trial in Russia in August
Biden meets Cherelle Griner in the Oval Office on her wife Brittney Griner’s release.
The Phoenix Mercury wrote in December 2022, “A week ago today our family became whole again.” Diana Taurasi, who signed a multi-year deal Saturday, and the Mercury management team waited for Griner to come home
Griner and Bout crossed paths on a tarmac in the United Arab Emirates to finalize the deal. Dubbed the “dealer of death” by some, Bout was arrested on terrorism charges in 2008 and later convicted in the United States.
The deal drew criticism from Republicans, who fretted that the White House didn’t get Whelan.
In response to right-wing attacks, White House officials acknowledged that prisoner swaps were costly, adding that they felt compelled to bring Griner home while they got the chance.
The 6-foot-9 griner is an eight-time USA All-Star and one of only 11 players to have won an Olympic gold medal, a FIBA World Championship gold medal, a WNBA title, and an NCAA title she won at Baylor in 2012.
Griner, who was drafted No. 1 by Mercury in 2013, was listed on Phoenix’s list on the WNBA website on Saturday.
Since returning home from Russia, Griner has not been in the public spotlight except for appearances at the Super Bowl, the Phoenix Open, and an MLK Day event in Phoenix, where she resides.
Earlier on Saturday, the Mercury signed Diana Taurasi to a multi-year contract. The WNBA’s all-time top scorer has only played with the Mercury since he was drafted No. 1 by the team in 2004.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/celebrity/beaming-brittney-griner-returns-to-basketball-court-for-training-with-phoenix-mercury/ A beaming Brittney Griner returns to the basketball court to practice with Phoenix Mercury