Judging Britney Greiner: How the WNBA star’s salary compares to her Russian earnings

WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist Britney Greiner learned of her fate in a Russian court on Thursday, was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison after pleading guilty to drug charges in June.

Griner, who has been held in Russia since February, has been classified as “unfairly detained” by the Defense Ministry. United State Government in May.

President Biden responded after the news, saying the government would “follow all possible avenues” in order to bring Grenier back to the United States.

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Britney Greiner awaits sentencing inside the defendant’s cage during a hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022. (Evgenia Novozinina/Paul/AFP/Getty Images)

“Today, US citizen Britney Greiner received a prison sentence and this is another reminder of what the world already knows: Russia is unjustly holding Britney. It is unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so that she can be with his wife, whom she loves. My friends and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and seek every avenue possible to get Britney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible,” Biden said.

Griner’s existence in Russia was primarily monetary.

Greiner, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury, is similar to many WNBA players in that she chooses to play overseas during her sabbatical in order to supplement her paycheck.

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In 2020, Griner signed a three-year, $664,544 contract extension with Phoenix, which made $221,450 through the 2021-2022 season and is on the books for $227,900 for the 2022-2023 season.

Britney Greiner operates the tunnel for the Phoenix Mercury

Mercury’s Britney Greiner exits the tunnel during the WNBA Finals against Chicago Sky on October 13, 2021, at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Michael Gonzalez/NBAE via Getty Images/Getty Images)

In May, the WNBA announced that Griner would receive her full salary without counting it toward Mercury’s salary cap.


Her salary in the WNBA pales in comparison to her earnings in Russia.

Greiner, who has played in Russia for the past seven seasons, earns more than $1 million a season while playing for UMKC Ekaterinburg.

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WNBA players have been heading to Russia during the WNBA overseas season for years, as WNBA superstar Sue Bird started her time with UMKC Ekaterinburg in 2011-2012, according to the New York Times.

Britney Greiner will play Mercury in 2021

Mercury’s Britney Greiner prepares to shoot against Chicago Sky during the WNBA Finals on October 10, 2021, at Footprint in Phoenix, Arizona. (Michael Gonzalez/NBAE via Getty Images/Getty Images)

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“Everything was literally top notch,” Baird once said. “We’re staying in the best hotels. We go to Paris. We’re, like, the Hotel Bombs in Paris.”

Recently, the WNBA has been trying to discourage players from traveling abroad during the break, and has instituted a “prioritization” policy. From 2023, players will be fined if they arrive late to their team’s training camps and will be suspended for the whole season starting in 2024.

This story was contributed by Ryan Gaydus of Fox News and The Associated Press