Brittney Griner, who was seen with closely cropped hair in images of her swap for arms dealer Viktor “Merchant of Death” Bout, was not forced to chop off her signature dreads – she cut them because they froze in the brutal Russian cold.

Griner got her locks shorn two Sundays ago to prevent the hair from turning into icicles every time she took a shower, the WNBA star’s attorney Maria Blagovolina told ESPN’s TJ Quinn.

“It’s very cold in there and every time she washed her hair she got cold and would get a chill,” the lawyer said, referring to the penal colony.

“She should have waited until New Year’s Day,” the lawyer added, jokingly.

Blagovolina, who represented Griner during her trial, said the two-time Olympic gold medalist recently recovered from a bout with the flu.

The lawyer told Quinn that Griner’s stint at the IK-2 prison in Mordovia was not that bad.

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

Brittney Griner playing basketball
Brittney Griner decided to cut her signature dreads because her hair would freeze after showers in the brutally cold Russian prison.
Brittney Griner with short hair
“It’s very cold in there and every time she washed her hair she got cold and would get a chill,” Griner lawyer Maria Blagovolina said.
Griner in the prison
Griner was too big to work sewing uniforms so she carried fabric all day instead.

Most of the women at the prison sew uniforms in their work details, but the 6-foot-9 hoopster was too tall to sit at the tables and her hands were too large for the job.

So she was tasked with carrying fabric all day and said she preferred that anyway, Blagovolina said.

On Friday morning, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Griner was “in very good spirits” when she landed in San Antonio.

Our team that flew back with her and met her on the ground tell us that she was in very, very good spirits when she got off the plane, and appeared to be obviously in good health,” Kirby said on the “Today” show.

Griner was released to US officials in a prisoner swap for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in the United Arab Emirates.

After getting a medical checkup, she will return to her 3,000-square-foot property in Arizona.  


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