Former NBA player Dennis Rodman says he’s going to Russia to try to help WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been sentenced to nine years in jail on drug charges.
“I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl,” Rodman told NBC News over the weekend. “I’m trying to go this week.”
A two-time U.S. Olympic champion and an eight-time all-star with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, Griner has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17 after police at Moscow’s airport said they found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage.
Griner was sentenced to nine years earlier this month for drug possession and smuggling.
Rodman has made controversial ventures into international politics before, developing a relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and once calling Russian President Vladimir Putin “cool.”
Rodman also has said he helped secure the release of American Kenneth Bae from North Korea last decade.
Talk of a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Russia has continued since Griner’s sentence.