Home US SportsWNBA Stephen Curry calls for Brittney Griner’s freedom during Warriors ring ceremony

Stephen Curry calls for Brittney Griner’s freedom during Warriors ring ceremony

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Stephen Curry calls for Brittney Griner’s freedom during Warriors ring ceremony

After a preseason tinged with turmoil, the Golden State Warriors opened their championship defense on Tuesday with drama-free a ring ceremony.

Draymond Green and Jordan Poole didn’t hug it out. But they were both all smiles as they tried on their new hardware for size. Meanwhile, Stephen Curry used the moment to speak to a cause. Before the Warriors hung the fourth championship banner secured by their current core, Curry took a moment to give a birthday shoutout to Brittney Griner while calling for her release from a Russian prison.

“Brittney Griner’s birthday is today,” Curry said in front of a sold-out Chase Center crowd. “She’s 32 years old. We want to continue to let her name be known, and we pray — it’s been 243 days since she’s been wrongfully incarcerated in Russia — we hope that she comes home soon and that everybody’s doing their part to bring her home.”

Griner remains detained following her Feb. 17 arrest for carrying less than a gram of hash oil in her luggage through a Russian airport. The seven-time WNBA All-Star was traveling to play for Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg. WNBA players commonly play overseas during the offseason for contracts that often exceed their WNBA salaries.

The Warriors raised a banner and awareness for the plight of Brittney Griner on Tuesday. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

A Russian judge sentenced her to nine years in prison in August, and her plight remains a subject of complex diplomatic negotiations involving President Joe Biden as the United States seeks hers and fellow detainee Paul Whelan’s release.

The NBA and WNBA have kept Griner’s detention front and center, and Curry delivered a reminder during the highest-profile moment of the NBA’s opening night.

After Curry’s plea, it was time to shift focus back to the matter at hand — Golden State’s NBA championship. And there were smiles all around as the Warriors raised their newest banner to the rafters.

And, of course, there was ogling of their ridiculous new hardware.

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