Brittney Yevette Griner (born October 18, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).

She played college basketball for the Baylor Lady Bears in Waco, Texas. She is the only NCAA basketball player to both score 2,000 points and block 500 shots.[4] In 2012, the three-time All-American was named the AP Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

In 2009, Griner was named the nation's No. 1 high school women's basketball player by She was selected to the 2009 Phoenix Mercury All-American basketball team.

Griner was on the United States women's Olympic team in 2016, and led them to victory at the Rio Olympics. In 2020, Griner protested the Star Spangled Banner and stated she wouldn't be on the court while the national anthem was played during game openers.

Brittney Griner, an American basketball star considered by the U.S. government to be "wrongfully detained" in Russia, should not be described as a "hostage," a Russian official told NBC News.

Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the comments in an exclusive interview with Keir Simmons published Monday.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and member of the Phoenix Mercury WNBA team, has been held in Russia since February 17 on allegations of drug charges.

Russian authorities reported she was found in possession of vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. The U.S. State Department considers Griner to be "wrongfully detained," and the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs is involved in her case.

In the published report Monday, Simmons said "the U.S. government is now approaching this as a hostage situation," a term Peskov contradicted.

Simmons pressed Peskov on Griner's detention, saying she was "coming to take part in sport in Russia, effectively trying to build bridges through sport" and that her detention sends "a terrible message."