ABOVE PHOTO: Cherelle Griner, left, and Brittney Griner on stage on the 54th NAACP Picture Awards on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, on the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photograph/Chris Pizzello)
By Hillel Italie
NEW YORK — Saying she is able to share the “unfathomable” expertise of being arrested and incarcerated in Russia, basketball star Brittney Griner is engaged on a memoir that’s scheduled for spring 2024.
Griner was arrested final yr on the airport in Moscow on drug-related prices and detained for almost 10 months, a lot of that point in jail. Her plight unfolded on the identical time Russia invaded Ukraine and additional heightened tensions between Russia and the U.S., ending solely after she was freed in alternate for the infamous Russian arms supplier Viktor Bout.
A WNBA All-Star with the Phoenix Mercury, Griner had flown to Moscow in February 2022 to rejoin UMMC Ekaterinburg, a Russian girls’s staff she has performed for within the low season since 2014.
“That day (in February) was the start of an unfathomable interval in my life which solely now am I able to share,” Griner stated in a press release launched Tuesday by Alfred A. Knopf.
“The first motive I traveled again to Russia for work that day was as a result of I needed to make my spouse, household, and teammates proud. After an extremely difficult 10 months in detainment, I’m grateful to have been rescued and to be dwelling. Readers will hear my story and perceive why I’m so grateful for the outpouring of help from folks internationally.”
Griner added that she additionally hoped her ebook would elevate consciousness of different Individuals detained abroad, together with Wall Avenue Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, arrested in Russia final month and accused of espionage; businessman Kai Li, serving a 10-year sentence in China on prices of unveiling state secrets and techniques to the FBI; and Paul Whelan, a company safety govt imprisoned in Russia on spying prices. Across the time Griner was launched, Whelan criticized the U.S. authorities for not doing sufficient to assist him.
Russia has been a well-liked taking part in vacation spot for prime WNBA athletes within the offseason, with some incomes salaries over $1 million — almost quadruple what they will make as a base WNBA wage. Regardless of pleading responsible to possessing canisters with hashish oil, a results of what she stated was hasty packing, Griner nonetheless confronted trial underneath Russian regulation.
Griner’s memoir is at the moment untitled and can ultimately be revealed in a younger grownup version. Monetary phrases weren’t disclosed.
In Tuesday’s press assertion, Knopf stated that the ebook can be “intimate and shifting” and that Griner would disclose “in vivid element her harrowing expertise of her wrongful detainment (as categorised by the State Division) and the problem of navigating the byzantine Russian authorized system in a language she didn’t converse.”
“Griner additionally describes her stark and surreal time dwelling in a overseas jail and the terrifying elements of day-to-day life in a girls’s penal colony,” the announcement reads. “On the coronary heart of the ebook, Griner highlights the non-public turmoil she skilled in the course of the close to ten-month ordeal and the resilience that carried her by to the day of her return to the US final December.”
Griner, 32, is a 6-foot-9 two-time Olympic gold medalist, three-time All-American at Baylor College, a outstanding advocate for pay fairness for girls athletes and the primary overtly homosexual athlete to achieve an endorsement cope with Nike. She is the writer of 1 earlier ebook, “In My Pores and skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court docket,” revealed in 2014.
In February, she re-signed with the Mercury and can play in its upcoming season, which runs from Might by September.