Brittney Griner expresses her Russian prison ordeal. GETTY IMAGES

The WNBA star Brittney Griner said she thought about suicide while she was at a Russian prison during her nine months there.

Griner, the renowned WNBA athlete, found herself detained at a Moscow airport in February 2022 under drug-related accusations, subsequently receiving a daunting nine-year prison sentence. In excerpts from an upcoming interview with ABC Television, she courageously opens up about her traumatic journey, shedding light on the anguish she endured and the profound toll it took on her mental well-being.

"Yeah, I just didn't think I could get through what I needed to get through," Griner said when asked by her interviewer on ABC's 20/20 news show if she had considered "ending it all."

During other segments of the interview, Griner, who regained her freedom in late 2022 as part of a prisoner exchange, provided a sobering glimpse into the bleak realities of her time within a Russian penal colony. Recounting her ordeal, she vividly described one chilling moment when she was led into a room only to be confronted with the alarming sight of "a huge knife sitting on the table."

"The mattress had a huge blood stain on it. I had no soap, no toilet paper. That was the moment when I just felt less than a human. And I was like 'Now, this is going to be a ride,'" she said. "You've got to do what you got to do to survive," Griner said.

Griner's encounter with Russian authorities unfolded when she was apprehended and charged for the discovery of vape cartridges containing hashish oil within her luggage during a routine airport security screening. during her testimony, she vehemently asserted her innocence, emphasizing that she harboured "no intention" of violating any laws and attributing the presence of the cartridges to an inadvertent packing oversight.

"My life is over right here. I was just so scared for everything because there's so much unknown," she said when asked by ABC about what she felt at that moment in the airport. Biden said he was prepared to met with Putin to talk about Griner's case.

Gold Medallist at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 with Team USA, WNBA champion, two times Defensive Player of the Year at WNBA, runner-up WNBA MVP in 2021 and eight-times WNBA All-Star Griner has been playing for Phoenix Mercury since 2013, when the US league was finalised, she played with Russian UMMC Ekaterinburg from 2014 to 2022, winning three Euroleagues. Finally, she was released in December 2022 as part of a deal that saw her swapped for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

In the aftermath of her incarceration, she adamantly declared her refusal to engage in overseas basketball endeavours again. The comprehensive interview, offering deeper insights, precedes the forthcoming release of Griner's memoir, slated for next month, wherein she shares a candid account of her tumultuous journey. Viewers can anticipate the broadcast of the full interview on 1 May.