Steph brings attention to Griner during Dubs’ ring ceremony originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO – From the ring ceremony to the raising of their fourth NBA championship banner in eight seasons, the pregame festivities Tuesday evening at Chase Center were to be dedicated to the Warriors.
No disrespect to the Los Angeles Lakers, their opponent on opening night.
But team leader and NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry could not let the celebration pass without delivering a sober message, reminding the sellout crowd and national TV audience of the plight of WNBA star Brittney Griner.
“We want to continue to use our platform and take the opportunity to shout out a very special member of the basketball community,” Curry said. “Brittney Griner’s birthday is today. She’s 32 years old. We want to continue to let her name be known.”
Griner was detained at Moscow airport in February after a flight from New York for allegedly possessing cannabis oil in her luggage. She was sentenced in August to a nine-year prison sentence.
Considering the strained relationship between the United States and Russia – exacerbated by the war in Ukraine – Griner widely is considered a pawn being held Russian president Vladimir Putin as a political prisoner.
“It’s been 243 days since she was wrongfully incarcerated in Russia, and we hope that she comes home soon,” Curry said. “Everybody is doing their part to get her home.”
Though there have been negotiations to arrange a prisoner swap, there is no knowing when or if Griner might return to the United States.