She will be making a return to the WNBA after spending 10 months in a Russian penal colony after being convicted of possessing vape canisters with cannabis oil.
On Tuesday, the Phoenix Mercury announced that Griner, who missed last season, has officially signed a one-year deal with the team.
She will be making a return to the WNBA after spending 10 months in a Russian penal colony after being convicted of possessing vape canisters with cannabis oil. She was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport last year in February as Russia began its war with Ukraine.
In a written statement, Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman said: “It’s a great day for all of us to announce that Brittney Griner has officially signed to play for the Mercury in 2023. We missed BG every day that she was gone and, while basketball was not our primary concern, her presence on the floor, in our locker room, around our organization, and within our community was greatly missed. We will continue to use the resources of our organization to support her, on and off the floor, and we are thrilled for her that she gets to return to basketball, which she loves so dearly. This is a special signing and today is a special day for all of us.”
Before becoming a political prisoner, Griner was one of the top players in the league still making noise on the basketball court.
In the last full season she played, she led the league in efficiency rating (26.0), while coming in second place in the scoring category by averaging 20.5 points per game. She was No. 1in blocks with an average of 1.9 per game. Second in field-goal percentage (57.5), while she averaged a franchise-record and career-high 9.5 rebounds, which was good enough for sixth place during the 2021 season. She also had a single-season franchise-record 16 double-doubles, which increased her franchise-record 57 career double-doubles.
The Phoenix Mercury, who have won the WNBA championship three times, will make a return to Footprint Center this summer. The upcoming season will start on Sunday, May 21 against the Chicago Sky in the Fry’s Food Stores Welcome Home Opener.