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NBA team wears shirts in support of detained basketball player

The Boston Celtics paid tribute to Brittney Griner on Saturday

Boston Celtics players wore t-shirts in support of jailed WNBA star Brittney Griner during a practice session on Saturday, ahead of Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

Griner has been detained in Russia for more than 100 days after cartridges containing hash oil were allegedly found in her luggage at a Moscow airport in mid-February.

As his wife Cherelle appeals to the administration of US President Joe Biden to grant his release, the Celtics showed solidarity with Griner by wearing shirts with “WE ARE BG” on them while preparing for the the game in Oakland on Sunday night.

Speaking to the media at a press conference, Boston forward Grant Williams said the shirts were “super important” show their support for their “sister” who is detained “in Russia”.

“We just wanted to show that solidarity and that love that we not only have in the NBA but also in the WNBA,” Williams added, before describing Griner as a “vital part” of the WNBA and American college basketball that has had a huge impact on young female athletes at home and abroad.

“We hope to bring her back to the United States and reunite with her family and do what she loves and bring that love and tenacity that she still performs with on the court,” Williams said, revealing how, as vice president of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the jerseys were a collaboration between his body and its women’s counterpart, the WNBPA.

Williams explained how the shirts were sent overnight to the West Coast and thanked everyone involved in the process of creating and delivering them for doing a phenomenal job.

“We just wanted to do this as a team” Williams insisted. “It was one of those things where nobody questioned it. Everyone was like, ‘Let’s do it. “Everyone put on the shirt immediately when we received it, fresh out of the box. They were ironed and ready to go, so we wanted to show that love and support.

Jaylen Brown pointed out how the Celtics, who lead the NBA Finals 1-0, wanted to come out and show their support for Griner as a collective.

“Enough is enough,” Brown insisted.

As for Jayson Tatum, he got to know Griner when they both represented Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics last year and had enjoyed being around him for extended periods as the pandemic prevented athletes to move.

“So after games, after training, we would be in the hospitality room, men and women,”Tatum said. 

“We’d be in there, playing cards, karaoke, things like that, video games. A great person to be around. She just lights up the whole room with her personality.”

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Because of the bond he was forging with her at the time, Tatum found “extremely hard” to see what Griner is going through.

“I know everyone sees and feels that, and obviously we’re all together trying to get her back to her family and things like that,” he concluded.

While Griner faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, figures such as NBA commissioner Adam Silver have said the league is working to “accelerate” her release from Russian detention while working in “step by step” with the US government.


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