The Suns will honor Mercury star Brittney Griner on their home court for the remainder of the playoffs.
When Phoenix hosts Dallas in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday, the Footprint Center will feature Griner’s initials and her No. 42 on the sides of the court.
The Suns’ decision to honor Griner comes more than a week after the WNBA announced that it would honor the seven-time WNBA All-Star with a season-long tribute with each team having a floor decal that includes Griner’s initials and jersey number.
The 31-year-old has been detained in Russia since February after customs officials reportedly discovered vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage at Sheremetyevo International Airport.
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It is not clear when Griner will return to the United States. However, according to ESPN’s T.J. Quinn, the U.S. government considered Griner as “wrongfully detained” last week. That move by the government also led to a reclassification of Griner’s case. Before the U.S. government’s announcement, Griner’s case had been under the jurisdiction of the consular office. Now, the star’s case resides in the special envoys office, according to Quinn.
The new classification also allows for WNBA players and supporters to shed light on Griner’s detainment with no hesitation. Previously, Griner’s personal team remained low-key and clung to the State Department’s advice so that it would not threaten Griner’s release.
Griner, the No. 1 overall pick in 2013 WNBA draft, led the way alongside Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith in 2021, producing a MVP-type season. She finished second in scoring (20.5 PPG), sixth in rebounds (9.5) and first in blocks (1.9) while coming in second place in MVP voting last season.
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