Brittney Griner details conditions during Russian imprisonment: ‘I was just so scared’

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

WNBA star Brittney Griner is pubically sharing some details about her harrowing experience during her time in a Russian prison. Griner sat down with ABC News’ “Good Morning America” and fielded questions about her nearly 10-month detainment and imprisonment.

She was arrested in February 2022 after authorities found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage at a Russian airport. 

“My life is over right here,” Griner said as she recalled the moments after she realized the cartridges were in her bag.

Griner was detained and later transferred to a Russian penal colony roughly 300 miles outside of Moscow following a nine-year prison sentence.

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Closing arguments in Brittney Griners cannabis possession case are set for Thursday, nearly six months after the American basketball star was arrested at a Moscow airport in a case that reached the highest levels of US-Russia diplomacy. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

In December 2022, Griner was released in a prisoner exchange for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. ABC’s “Good Morning America” shared a clip on Tuesday of the upcoming interview with Griner.

“I was just so scared,” Griner said as she wiped away tears.

WNBA SAYS BRITTNEY GRINER SUBJECT OF ‘INAPPROPRIATE’ INCIDENT INVOLVING SOCIAL MEDIA ‘PROVOCATEUR’

The wide-ranging interview is reportedly expected to cover Griner’s entire ordeal from the time she was arrested to the time she was released.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist hinted that she battled suicidal thoughts, suggesting that she attempted to shift into survivor mode, but she also “didn’t think I could get through what I needed to get through.”

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Griner also said the living conditions inside the penal colony left her feeling “less than a human.”

“The mattress had a huge blood stain on it. I had no soap, no toilet paper. That was the moment where I just felt less than a human,” Griner noted as she reflected on her time behind bars.

Brittney Griner looks on court

Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury looks on against the Seattle Storm during the first quarter at Climate Pledge Arena on June 24, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Griner was the top overall selection in the 2013 WNBA Draft. She rebooted her career with the only WNBA team she played with — the Phoenix Mercury — in May 2023. She received league All-Star honors last season.

Brittney Griner speaks to the media

Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury speaks to the media on April 27, 2023, at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Griner’s memoir “Coming Home” is scheduled to be released on May 7. The book is expected to further detail her experiences during her detainment and imprisonment.

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The full hour long “Prisoner in Russia: The Brittney Griner Interview,” from 20/20 and ABC News Studios will air on May 1.

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