WNBA star Brittney Griner was freed by Russia on Thursday in a dramatic high-level prisoner exchange with the US, which released notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in return.
Here is a timeline of key events in Griner’s career on and off the basketball court:
October 18, 1990: Brittney Griner was born in Houston.
2009: Led Nimitz High School to Texas 5A girls basketball state championship game where they lost. The 6-foot-7 star dunked 52 times as a senior, including seven times in one game against Aldine High School.
2009-10: Set NCAA single season record with 223 blocks as a freshman at Baylor. Became the seventh women’s basketball player to ever dunk in college.
2011-12: Led Baylor to a 40-0 record and earned Associated Press Player of the Year honors averaging 23.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5 blocks.
April 3, 2012: Had 26 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks in NCAA title game as Baylor beat Notre Dame 80-61. She earned Most Outstanding Player honors of the Final Four.
April 15, 2013: Was No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, selected by the Phoenix Mercury.
2014: Helped Phoenix to 29-5 record — most wins in WNBA history — and the franchise’s third league championship.
August 14, 2014: Got engaged to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson. Eight months later, they were both arrested on charges of assault and disorderly conduct after police responded to a fight between them.
May 15, 2015: Griner and Johnson were suspended seven games by the WNBA after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct charges.
2015 and 2016: Played in Russia for UMMC Ekaterinburg and won consecutive championships with that team. Has played in the winter with Ekaterinburg ever since.
August 20, 2016: Helped lead U.S. to sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal at Rio Games.
June 18, 2019: Married Cherelle Griner.
August 8, 2021: Helped U.S. win seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal at Tokyo Games. She averaged 16.5 points to lead the U.S.
February 17, 2022: Arrested for drug possession at airport outside of Moscow while returning to her team in Russia from a FIBA World Cup qualifier break. Customs officials said they found vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage.
July 1, 2022: Trial started in court outside of Moscow.
July 7, 2022: Pled guilty to drug possession charges, saying: “There was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law.”
August 4, 2022: Sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison for drug possession.
October 25, 2022: Appeal of the prison sentence for drug possession was rejected by a Russian court.
November 17, 2022: Griner was transferred to a penal colony in the western Russian region of Mordovia.
December 8, 2022: Russia frees Griner in high-level prisoner exchange for arms dealer Viktor Bout.