Daily Sports Smile: Phoenix Suns honor WNBA star Brittney Griner with special court design
The Phoenix Suns are joining the efforts to support WNBA star Brittney Griner.
The Suns supported their WNBA contemporaries by placing Griner’s “BG 42” initials on their home floor at the Footprint Center. The initials will remain throughout the NBA playoffs.
Griner is a franchise star for the Phoenix Mercury. She is also a leader for many in the local community. In February, Griner was detained at a Moscow airport after allegedly having cannabis oil for a vape pen in her luggage.
Several WNBA stars have been vocal about Griner’s detainment. They have voiced their concerns and pleaded that she be released back to the United States. The Mercury wore “We are BG 42” shirts to support during warmups.
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Suns star Chris Paul also spoke in support for Griner this week. He wore a special Brittney Griner shirt ahead of Game 5 against the Dallas Mavericks. He also provided a powerful statement that the NBA family stands behind her as well.
"[Brittney Griner is] a HUGE part of the community here," Paul said. "We all support her. We just want to get her home as soon as possible."
The Suns special court design follows the steps laid out by the WNBA. The league has dedicated the 2022 season towards supporting Griner as well. Her initials are displayed on all 12 WNBA courts throughout the league.
"As we being the 2022 season, we are keeping Brittney at the forefront of what we do through the game of basketball and in the community," WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a press release. "We continue to work on bringing Brittney home and are appreciative of the support the community has shown BG and her family during this extraordinarily challenging time."
Off the court, the United States government is working towards a possible resolution. The U.S. State Department has classified Griner as wrongfully detained in Russia.
The U.S. State Department will work to bring Griner home. A state department spokesperson told USA TODAY Sports that her case will receive the highest of priorities.
Griner is set to have another hearing on May 19.