Steph Curry is the latest sports figure to voice his support of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who is currently incarcerated in Russia after being convicted of drug possession and smuggling. On Tuesday evening (Oct. 18), the Golden State Warriors star took time out of his speech during the organization’s championship ring ceremony to wish Griner, who turned 32 years old on Tuesday, happy birthday.
“We want to continue to use our platform and the opportunity to shout out a very special member of the basketball community,” Curry told the sold-out crowd at the Chase Center. “Brittney Griner’s birthday is today, she’s 32 years old.”
Curry, 34, also urged the public to keep spreading awareness of Griner’s fight for freedom while criticizing her arrest and conviction, which he deemed “wrongful.” “We want to continue to let her name be known and we pray,” the four-time NBA champion said, pointing out that it’s been 243 days “since she was wrongfully incarcerated in Russia.”
The prolific shooter concluded his message by sharing his desire to witness the All-Star’s eventual return to the U.S. “We hope that she comes home soon, that everybody’s doing their part to get her home,” Curry added.
The Phoenix Mercury star was arrested at an airport in Moscow on Feb. 17 after authorities found cannabis-infused vape cartridges, which are illegal in Russia, in her luggage. Griner, who attributed the offense to an “honest mistake” on her part, pleaded guilty to drug possession and smuggling charges and was sentenced to nine years in prison in August. Her legal team has filed an appeal in hopes of overturning the conviction, which the basketball star is scheduled to attend a hearing for in Russia later this month.
Curry isn’t the only NBA player to speak out on Griner’s behalf. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James previously penned an open letter calling for Griner’s freedom in June. A month later, he also criticized the lack of urgency to facilitate her return home during an episode of his HBO series The Shop: Uninterrupted. “Now, how can she feel like America has her back?” James said at the time. “I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even wanna go back to America?’”
After receiving backlash for his remarks, the Akron native later clarified his comments via a post on Twitter. “My comments on The Shop regarding Brittney Griner wasn’t knocking our beautiful country,” he wrote. “I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days! Long story short #BringHerHome”
On Tuesday evening, Curry and the Golden State Warriors faced off against James and the Los Angeles Lakers for their opening game of the 2022-2023 NBA regular season. The Warriors defeated the Lakers 123-109, securing their first win of the season.