All About the WNBA Star Before Russian Detainment

  • Brittney Griner has spent more than eight months in Russian prison for possession of marijuana.
  • Before her wrongful detainment, Griner was en route to a historic, record-breaking basketball career.
  • Here’s the story of how a generational talent became Vladimir Putin’s prized bargaining chip.

Brittney Griner has been wrongfully detained in Russia for more than eight months.

But before her February arrest — when officials at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage — the 6-foot-9 Houston native was best known for her incredible abilities on the basketball court.

From growing up in and around Houston, Texas, and discovering her basketball talent in early high school to becoming a NCAA hoops sensation and, eventually, a WNBA superstar well on her way to the Hall of Fame, Griner enjoyed a rapid and surreal rise to basketball glory.

Brittney Griner.

Griner competes for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics.

Charlie Neibergall/AP

But even more suddenly, her entire life has been ripped away from her.

Here is the story of how a gangly Texan grew into a generational talent — and eventually became Vladimir Putin’s prized bargaining chip.

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