Earlier this week, President Joe Biden announced that he reached an agreement on a prison swap with Russian officials to bring WNBA legend Brittney Griner back to the United States.
In exchange, the U.S. sent arms dealer and weapons smuggler Viktor Bout back to Russia. The 55-year-old Bout spent more than 14 years in prison before Biden reached an agreement with officials in Russia.
Back in February, Griner was arrested at the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow for carrying less than a gram of hashish oil (the substance is illegal in Russia). The Phoenix Mercury star was handed a nine-year prison back in August, but was finally freed less than a year after her arrest.
During an appearance on the RT news television program in Russia (via Reuters), Bout revealed what he told Griner following the prison swap agreement.
“I wished her luck, she even sort of reached out her hand to me,” Bout said. “Again, it’s our tradition. You should wish everyone good fortune and happiness.”
Griner’s arrest, trial and conviction were among the most widely-followed sports stories throughout 2022. Biden and U.S. officials spent plenty of time trying to reach an agreement to bring her home, and after a long wait, a resolution was finally met.
Griner, a future Hall of Famer, is one of the greatest basketball players of her generation. The two-time WNBA scoring leader and eight-time WNBA All-Star led the Mercury to the WNBA Championship in 2014.
The 32-year-old Griner has also flourished on the international stage, leading the U.S. to Olympic gold in the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics and to championships at the 2014 and 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup tournaments.
The Mercury reached the 2021 WNBA Finals, but they fell to the Chicago Sky in four games. Without Griner for the entire 2022 season, the Mercury struggled and finished with a disappointing 15-21 record.
With Griner back home, the entire dynamic changes for the Mercury now. The eight-time blocks leader and two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year will provide a giant boost to the Mercury when next season rolls around.WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.