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Brittney Griner has signed a one-year contract with the Phoenix Mercury, marking her return to the WNBA. 

The two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner has agreed to a one-year contract with the Phoenix Mercury in a deal that is expected to be official Tuesday. Griner missed the entire 2022 WNBA season while she was imprisoned in a Russian penal colony for 10 months.

Griner was released from Russian custody in December after being sentenced to nine years in Russian prison for being found guilty of an attempt to smuggle illegal narcotics into the country. In an exchange that some criticized, Griner was released from Russian custody on December 9 in exchange for Viktor Bout, an alleged arms dealer who had been convicted by a U.S. court of conspiring to kill Americans.

(American basketball star Brittney Griner is seen getting off a plane after landing at the Kelly Field in San Antonio on Dec. 9, 2022, after she was released from a Russian prison in exchange for a notorious arms dealer. SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)

Brittney Griner Vows To Play After Release

In a heartfelt Instagram post thanking all of those who assisted in her release, Griner vowed that she intended to continue her WNBA career by playing with the Phoenix Mercury.

“I also want to make one thing very clear: I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon,” Griner said in her post.

The Phoenix Mercury, where Griner has played her entire 10-year WNBA career, shared in the excitement once Griner was released, and plans to pick back up where they left off with the star player.

Mike Creef is a fighter for equality and justice for all. Growing up bi-racial (Jamaican-American) on the east coast allowed him to experience many different cultures and beliefs that helped give him a...