Brittney Griner was considered to be one of the best players in the Women’s National Basketball Association before she was detained by Russian authorities and imprisoned on drug smuggling charges after being caught with a cannabis vapor cartridge.
Although Griner has been missing from the professional league, her name has been plastered all over headlines as she attempted to beg the United States to convince Russia to release her.
With Griner finally free, her fans are eager to see her back on the professional basketball court.
How Tall Is Brittney Griner?
Brittney Griner is 6’9” and is one of the most popular players on the Phoenix Mercury.
Griner led the team to the 2014 Women’s National Basketball Association championship and claimed her first championship win.
That same year, Griner won her first gold medal for Team USA at the International Basketball Federation Women’s Basketball World Championships and was named one of the “All-Star Five.”
For stunning performance on the court in 2014, Brittney Griner was named Defensive Player of the Year and became the first player in Phoenix Mercury history to receive the prestigious award.
Griner would be named Defensive Player of the Year for a second time the following season, becoming one of only five players to receive the award back-to-back in WNBA history.
Only a year later, Griner won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Brittney Griner is a six-time All-Star who was named in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Although Griner was named in 2017, she was unable to play due to an injury.
In 2017 and 2019, Griner was the league’s leading scorer, averaging 20.7 points per game and earning the Peak Performer Award for both of those seasons. Griner is only the second player to receive this award in Mercury history.
The last season that Brittney Griner was able to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association was in 2021 when the legendary player averaged 20.5 points, a career-high 9.5 rebounds, and a league-leading 1.9 blocks per game.
During one of her best seasons, Griner led the league with an average of 20.7 points per game and was the only true center in the league’s history to average 20+ points in three consecutive seasons.
Her 2019 performance has been compared to those of Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Cynthia Cooper.
Is Brittney Griner Married?
Yes, Brittney Griner is married to Cherelle Griner. They were married in June 2019.
The couple first met while attending Baylor University in Texas, where Cherelle Watson was majoring in political science and government and minoring in family and children studies.
Brittney Griner was grabbing what she believed to be her food when her future wife tapped her on the shoulder, claiming that the food was actually hers.
Griner was taken aback by the fellow student’s beauty, but the pair didn’t start dating until 2016, following Griner’s divorce from her ex-wife, fellow WNBA player, Glory Johnson.
During an interview with Gayle King, Cherelle Griner admitted that she never would have thought that the President of the United States would have to sit down with a foreign nation’s leader to discuss her wife’s freedom.
Griner heard a lot of different words thrown around to describe her wife’s situation, but she felt that her wife was a hostage.
Cherelle only received a couple of calls from her imprisoned wife but could hear in her voice that Brittney Griner was losing the will to press on.
Every time they spoke, Griner could hear the pain and exhaustion more clearly in her voice.
Despite all that Brittney Griner had gone through in her past, Cherelle Griner knew that her wife was in the most stressful and painful situation she had ever endured.
Now that Brittney Griner has come back home, Cherelle Griner feels relieved that her family is complete once again.
While Griner was imprisoned, her wife graduated from Central University of Law in May of 2022.
To celebrate her work, Cherelle Griner made a post on Instagram with the caption, “It’s graduation day.
Name just got a little longer: Cherelle T. Griner, J.D.”
After all the couple has gone through, they’re grateful to be together again.
Does Brittney Griner Have Any Children?
Yes, Brittney Griner has a pair of twin daughters named Ava and Solei Griner with her first wife Glory Johnson.
However, there was discussion about whether or not the children were actually hers.
During Griner and Johnson’s divorce, Griner voiced concerns that the twins weren’t from a random sperm donor through IVF as they had originally planned.
Griner was worried that the “sperm donor” was actually an ex-boyfriend of Johnson’s, with whom Griner believed that Johnson cheated on her.
If Johnson’s ex-boyfriend had turned out to be the father of their twin daughters, Griner wouldn’t have had to pay child support.
Since Griner is still expected to pay $2,516 per month in child support, it seems that the daughters are indeed her children.
At the time of their divorce, Griner was making $1.1 million per year and was expected to either pay 90% of Johnson’s childcare costs or an additional $2,835 per month to hire two nannies.
As the girls get older, the amount that Griner will have to pay is set to decrease.
When Ava and Solei were born, they were four months premature and required constant care.
While Griner wasn’t going to deny that she needed to help pay for the children’s care, she did argue the amount she was expected to pay.
Glory Johnson claimed that she needed the amount of money she was asking for to pay the family members who have helped her a “reasonable rate.”
Although Johnson was making $125,000 per year, she still needed significant support while the twins were infants.
Although Johnson once had an Instagram page for her daughters, they’ve been given more privacy as they age.
With their mother’s imprisonment and recent release being all over the news, the public is curious about the twins.
Is Brittney Griner Still Playing Basketball?
Yes, Brittney Griner has announced that she will be playing in the upcoming Women’s National Basketball Association season following her recent release.
Griner wanted to make sure that those who worked so hard to release her from Russian imprisonment could be thanked both in person and with a further dedication to her career.
Like many members of the Women’s National Basketball Association, Griner had traveled to Russia to play in their professional league during the offseason.
Many players in women’s professional sports will spend their offseason playing for another country’s league due to the wage gap between male and female professional athletes.
The Phoenix Mercury is glad to have their star defensive player back and is eager to help her return to the professional court.
Phoenix Vice President Vince Kozar plans on letting Griner take the lead on her reintroduction and is excited to bring the joy brought by Griner and the way she plays.
With Brittney Griner coming back to her home team, fans are eager to see her play with the new lineup that Mercury has formulated with Sophie Cunningham and Brianna Turner.
Since the Women’s National Basketball Association honored Griner’s final season of her contract while she was imprisoned in Russia, Griner is technically an unrestricted free agent.
The Phoenix Mercury has already used the core designation on Griner back when she went free agency in 2020, so Griner won’t be eligible to be designated as a core player.
Despite having the freedom to go anywhere in the WNBA, Griner plans on making her triumphant return to the professional league with the Mercury.
With the team’s other cornerstone player Skyler Diggins-Smith leaving temporarily as she prepares to have her second child, the Mercury has gotten Griner back at the perfect time to save the team.
Is Brittney Griner Back In The United States Yet?
Yes, Brittney Griner safely returned to the United States on December 9, 2022, after having been detained in a Russian prison for nearly 300 days.
Griner was playing in Russia’s professional women’s basketball league when she was imprisoned on drug charges.
In order to convince Russian officials to return Griner to the United States, the countries agreed to trade Griner for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer known as “the Merchant of Death.”
To announce her release, President Joe Biden gave a brief statement in the Roosevelt Room of the White House alongside the basketball legend’s wife Cherelle Griner.
According to the briefing from President Biden, she was safe on a plane heading towards the United States when they had spoken.
The night of the briefing, Griner landed in San Antonio and was immediately examined by a nearby United States Army hospital.
Brittney Griner was originally going to be serving a nine-year sentence after Moscow customs officials found two cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage in February of 2022.
The situation became international news when Russia refused to release Griner to the United States, with their war on Ukraine having recently started and causing tensions between the countries.
The Biden Administration was stalled for months after Griner was sent to a penal colony called Female Penal Colony IK-2 in Yavas, which is about 300 miles southeast of Moscow.
Russia has set up these penal colonies for punishing foreign captives through isolation and cruel labor.
According to a United States State Department spokesperson, “The Russian Federation has still failed to provide any official notification for such a move of a United State citizen.”
Griner’s legal team found it strange how Griner was transferred after a matter of weeks, despite the transfer process normally taking months.