“Rumor Is This Ain’t Her First Time Being Arrested in Russia”: NBA Legend Provides Big Take On Brittney Griner’s Imprisonment Saga

Published 08/31/2022, 2:09 PM EDT

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The WNBA is arguably the biggest women’s basketball league in the world. However, there is a major pay disparity between WNBA stars and athletes in the NBA. Notably, the average salary of a male athlete is 41-times higher than that of WNBA players. Likewise, female professionals have to find another way to compensate and earn their due diligence. Hence, they often play overseas during the off-season. And one of the WNBA’s biggest stars, Brittney Griner is one such player.

Griner plays basketball in Russia for the UMMC Ekaterinburg. The eight-time All-Star has been a part of the team for seven seasons. However, she landed in trouble as she was gearing up to play for the franchise. Earlier this year, Griner was detained at an airport in Russia for carrying illegal cannabis oil cartridges into Russia. Since her initial detention, the Phoenix Mercury center even went through a long trial. And the outcome shocked the basketball world, as Russia sentenced the WNBA star to nine years in prison.


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However, according to Gilbert Arenas, there could be another reason for Griner’s imprisonment. Notably, he feels Russia is trying to lure her into playing for their team.

Arenas’ theory of Brittney Griner in Russia

Agent Zero made an eye-opening claim. According to the former NBA All-Star, Brittney Griner could be more valuable to the Russian league as compared to the WNBA. Arenas compared her situation to popular international basketball icon, Stephon Marbury. Similar to the ex-NBA player achieving stardom in Beijing, Arenas thinks Griner holds similar potential, and that her sentence of nine years may not be upheld.

Amid Brittney Griner’s Detention, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Draws Attention to Another American Prisoner in Russia Who Has Been Locked Up for 4 Years

Arenas said: “Rumor is this ain’t her first time being arrested in Russia. Let’s just say she is the queen of Russia. So whatever she wants, she gets”. Agent Zero dove further and said, “Vape pens and stuff like that, you are carrying that with you from country to country, state to state, city to city. So for them to actually bust you, they already knew you had it on you. So it was more of a trap if we can get these two players and I’m one of those people that’s like, ‘I don’t believe you'”.


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Brittney Griner was the reigning champion in Russia playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg. The franchise was stacked with WNBA talents alongside the two-time Defensive Player of The Year. WNBA stars such as Breanna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot are just some of the players that shared the court with Griner.

Having stardom in Russia, Griner also earned a lot more than her salary in the WNBA. Notably, in the 2021 WNBA season, Griner made $221,450. However, her winter trips to Russia saw her get a $1 million paycheque. Earning more than quadruple her base salary, Griner was dominating Russia.


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What do you think of Gilbert Arenas’ take on Brittney Griner? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Written by:

Anuj Talwalkar


One take at a time

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.
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Edited by:

Veer Badani