WNBA’S Brittney Griner has teamed up with Disney’s ESPN and ABC Signature to bring her life story to a global audience. Griner’s narrative will focus on her challenging 10-month detainment in a Russian prison on cannabis charges during the 2022 WNBA offseason. The story will be brought to life through an ESPN documentary and a potential scripted series developed by ABC Signature. The deal also encompasses an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, with the airdate yet to be determined.
“The last two years have been the most harrowing, transformative, and illuminating period of my life,” Griner shared. “I’m proud to partner with ESPN and Disney to share this very personal story because of its incredible potential to inspire hope around the world.”
Griner — who, like other WNBA athletes, played basketball in Russia during the offseason — was arrested in February 2022 after two cannabis vape cartridges were discovered in her carry-on luggage. Though Griner claimed she packed the cartridges by mistake, she pleaded guilty to drug smuggling charges and was eventually sentenced to nine years in prison. The initial shock of a nine-year sentence sparked widespread outcry, leading the U.S. government to intervene and designate Griner as wrongfully retained. Her eventual release on December 8, 2022, as part of a prisoner swap for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout with Russia, marked a turning point.
Following the ordeal, Griner returned to the WNBA and the US national basketball team, but was still the target of a “calculated confrontation” by a “social media figure and provocateur” in a Dallas airport this past June.
ESPN Films is set to produce a documentary that promises an intimate look into Griner’s experience, complete with exclusive footage and personal correspondences from her time in detention. Simultaneously, ABC Signature is in the early stages of developing a scripted limited series that aims to capture the essence of Griner’s journey.
“Throughout BG’s detainment and in the time since, ESPN, ABC, and Disney were supportive and caring in regards to the human side of this saga,” shared Cherelle Griner, Brittney’s wife. “Love and family were at the center of the fight to get BG home, and with that in mind, there is no better, more trusted partner to tell that story with us.”
Cherelle Griner, along with Brittney Griner’s long-time agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas of Wasserman and Brillstein Entertainment Partners co-CEO Jon Liebman, will serve as executive producers, infusing a personal touch into the projects.
“BG is a hero – across sport, culture and humanity,” acknowledged Colas and Liebman. “We are privileged to serve as a part of her life’s storytelling journey, and to partner with her and Cherelle to bring Brittney’s legacy to audiences worldwide.”
Griner also previously revealed plans to pen a memoir about her ordeal.