"I was just so scared": Brittney Griner breaks down in tears recalling suicidal thoughts during prison time in Russia 

Syndication: USA TODAY
Brittney Griner breaks down in tears recalling suicidal thoughts during prison time

In 2022, WNBA star Brittney Griner went through an experience she will never forget. Speaking for the first time about her time being a prisoner in Russia, she opened up on some of the dark thoughts that went through her mind.

Griner was traveling overseas because she played professionally in Europe during the WNBA offseason. She was later arrested and sentenced to nearly a decade in prison after authorities found cannabis oil in her luggage.

While speaking with Robin Roberts on ABC's "20/20," Brittney Griner opened up on the traumatic experience. Things got so bad for her at one point that she began contemplating taking her own life.

"I was just so scared," Griner said. "Just didn't think I could get through what I needed to get through."

Griner's full interview with Roberts is set to air on ABC on May 1st.

How long was Brittney Griner in prison for?

After being arrested in February of 2022, Brittney Griner was in prison in Russia for roughly 10 months. She would end up waiting five months for her trial, which took place in July.

Griner pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to nine years in prison that August. On top of jail time, she was also given a fine that equaled out to around $16,000 USD.

For most of this time, it was never revealed where the Russian authorities were keeping Brittney Griner. However, that changed in November of 2022 when she was moved to a women's correctional facility outside of Moscow.

As this ordeal went on, the United States government worked tirelessly to figure out how to get Griner back in the states. In December of 2022, the two countries agreed to a prisoner swap. Griner was freed and returned to the US in exchange for an arms dealer who was serving a 25-year sentence in federal prison.

Upon returning home, Griner played for the Phoenix Mercury in the 2023 WNBA season. She appeared in 31 out of 40 games, averaging 17.5 points and 6.3 rebounds.

Before this horrific experience, Griner was one of the top names in women's basketball. Following a dominant run at Baylor, she was drafted first overall by the Mercury in 2013.

Over the past decade, Griner has been named an All-Star on eight occasions, and won Defensive Player of the Year twice. That said, her biggest accomplishment was helping lead Phoenix to a championship in just her second season.

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