Brittney Griner cut her locs to cope with Russia’s bitter cold: report

The WNBA star returned from 10 months of Russian imprisonment absent her trademark locs—which were reportedly shorn out of necessity.

As her family, fans, and supporters alike celebrated the return of Brittney Griner to U.S. soil after the WNBA star spent 294 days in Russian custody, more details of her time in a Russian prison and penal colony have emerged.

One detail that came as a surprise to many viewing images of her release was the absence of Griner’s trademark locs.

As one of her attorneys explained, they were shorn out of necessity two weeks ago — because they were prone to freeze.

Brittney Griner locs
In a video released by Russian media, newly-freed WNBA star Brittney Griner (above) remarked, “I’m good,” as she sat in the airplane on her way home. Asked how she was feeling, she replied, “I’m happy.” (Photo: Screenshot/ News)

“It’s very cold in there and every time she washed her hair, she got cold and would get a chill,” Maria Blagovolina told ESPN

In fact, Griner had recently recovered from the flu when her release was brokered via a prisoner swap on Thursday. However, in spite of the bitterly cold Russian temperatures, Griner reportedly had few other complaints about her time in the penal colony where she was sentenced to serve nine years in August, also known as the “notorious” IK-2 Mordovia.

“She had honestly no complaints,” Blagovolina said. “Things could have been much worse.”

Describing more of Griner’s life while detained, ESPN reported:

Most of the women at IK-2 work during the day sewing uniforms, but the 6-foot-9 Griner was too tall to sit at the worktables, and her hands were too large to manage the sewing. Instead, she carried fabric all day and said she liked the job, compared to what she might have been doing.

Source: ESPN

Griner’s transfer to a Moscow jail on Monday reportedly came as a surprise to both the athlete and her attorneys. However, there was “complete silence” for several days as they awaited more news, which “was kind of stressful,” said Blagovolina, adding, “We were worried about her — she didn’t have her glasses; she broke her glasses and we didn’t know if she was getting food.”

Of course, Thursday brought the welcome news that Griner would be returned to U.S. custody and to her family in time for the upcoming holidays. Following the harrowing experience, Griner told reporters she was “good,” “happy,” and “ready” to be returning home in footage captured while she was aboard a flight waiting to depart Russia, according to People magazine.

As for Griner’s chopped locs, “She should have waited until New Year’s Day,” Blagovolina quipped.

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