SAN FRANCISCO — Members of the Boston Celtics wore “WE ARE BG” t-shirts during Saturday practice ahead of Game 2 of the NBA Finals in support of WNBA superstar Brittney Griner , which remains in custody in Russia.
“The jerseys were super important, not only to show our support for our sister who is detained in Russia, Brittney Griner, we just wanted to show this solidarity and this love that we have not only in the NBA but also in the WNBA”, a said Grant Williams. “She has been a vital part of the WNBA over the years, in college, and in the impact she has had on young female athletes, in the United States 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, vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, said the shirts were a collaboration between the NBPA and WNBPA, as a way to show support for Griner as she continues to be detained in Russia, where she has been in detention since early February. .
“They sent them out overnight to get them here for today,” Williams said. “They did a phenomenal job and we want to give credit to them for making this process happen. We just wanted to do it as a team. It was one of those things that nobody questioned. Everyone said: “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.
Griner, 31, is a seven-time WNBA All-Star and the 2014 WNBA champion, where she won a championship in 2012.
The 6ft 9in center has been in custody since being held at an airport in mid-February, with the US government saying Griner was wrongfully detained.
For the Celtics, it was an opportunity to show their solidarity with Griner with the basketball world’s attention on them in the NBA championship round.
“As a collective, we wanted to come out and show our support for Brittney Griner,” Celtics star Jaylen Brown said. “She’s been there a long time, and we think that’s enough.”
Jayson Tatum met Griner when they were both members of Team USA at last year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He said player movement restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic meant he was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with Griner and enjoyed being around him.
“Being there with the Olympics, obviously it was during COVID and so we couldn’t really go out and see other events and things like that,” Tatum said. “So after games, after practice, we’d be in the hospitality room, men and women. We’d be in there, playing cards, karaoke, things like that, video games. Great person to rub shoulders with. room with its personality.
“So it’s extremely difficult to see what she’s 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. Yeah, carrying these shirts today to support her.”