From basketball to behind bars.
Brittney Griner is ready to tell her “raw, emotional” story in a tell-all-memoir, publishing firm Alfred A. Knopf announced on Tuesday.
“Griner discloses in vivid detail her harrowing experience of her wrongful detainment and the difficulty of navigating the byzantine Russian legal system in a language she did not speak,” Knopf said in the statement.
“Griner also describes her stark and surreal time living in a foreign prison and the terrifying aspects of day-to-day life in a women’s penal colony.”
Griner’s “intimate and moving” memoir will also explore how the global #WeAreBG movement stood by her during the tumultuous events of 2022 and why she was even playing in Russia to being with, People reports.
The WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist spent ten months in Russian custody after being detained and sentenced to nine years for drug-smuggling charges. The Russian authorities found cannabis oil in her luggage.
Her arrest coincided with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which further complicated negotiations for her release. She was freed in December 2022 in a prisoner swap that involved notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
“That day was the beginning of an unfathomable period in my life which only now am I ready to share,” Griner wrote in a post on Instagram.
“The primary reason I traveled back to Russia for work that day was because I wanted to make my wife, family, and teammates proud. After an incredibly challenging 10 months in detainment, I am grateful to have been rescued and to be home. Readers will hear my story and understand why I’m so thankful for the outpouring of support from people across the world.”
The Olympian also hopes her memoir raises awareness of other American detained abroad, including Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter recently arrested in Russia, Paul Whelan, who’s been detained in Russian prisons for over four years on espionage charges, Kai Li, an American businessman being held in China on state security charges, and journalist Austin Tice, who disappeared a decade ago in Syria.
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The 2024 memoir will be Griner’s second with the publishing house. Her first, “In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court,” was published in 2015.
It will be sold in hardcover, in audio by Penguin Random House, as an ebook, and in trade paper by Vintage. Random House Children’s Book is set to publish a Young Adult version at a later date.
Meanwhile, the WNBA star is set to make her court return on May 19. The Phoneix Mercury will take on Los Angles Sparks at Crypto.com Arena. Then on May 21, Griner will suit up (for the first time in 19 months) at Phonexi Foorprint Center for her homecoming game against the Chicago Sky.