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‘We are BG:’ Grant Williams coordinates Celtics’ team effort to advocate for Brittney Griner’s release

Grant Williams coordinated the delivery of the "We are BG" shirts.Nicole Yang/Globe Staff

SAN FRANCISCO — As Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia extends to more than 100 days, some members of the Celtics are using their platform at the NBA Finals to call for her safe return home.

Griner, the WNBA star, was arrested in February after officials said they found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage while traveling to play for the Russian Premier League.

Forward Grant Williams said Saturday during practice ahead of Game 2 that he coordinated with the WNBA’s players’ association to get overnight deliveries of the “We are BG” shirts worn by several Celtics as they worked out.

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“She’s been a vital part of the WNBA over years past, college, and in the amount of impact she’s had on young female athletes, USA and overseas,” Williams said of the effort to show his support. “We hope to have her back in the U.S. and reunited with her family and do what she loves and bring that love and tenacity she always plays with on the court.”

The black shirts have an orange QR code on the back directing to wearebg.org, a website established by the Wasserman Group, which represents Griner. A month ago, her case shifted from an arrest to a wrongful detention, which then brought an increase the number of professional players — men and women — who started to speak out against it. The website calls for viewers to sign a Change.org petition to bring Griner home, which has nearly 245,000 signatures.

The Celtics also updated their Twitter avatar to an orange Celtics logo to acknowledge Griner’s attention, and shared a video featuring Marcus Smart.

“We’re here for her,” he said while wearing the shirt. “We stand with her.”

Celtics star Jayson Tatum got to know Griner while they both played for Team USA in the 2021 Olympics in Japan.

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“We couldn’t really go out and see other events and things like that. So after the games, after practice, we would be in the hospitality room, men and women. We would be in there, playing cards, karaoke, things like that, video games. Great person to be around. She just enlightens the entire room with her personality,” he said. “So it’s extremely tough seeing what she’s going through. I know everybody sees and feels that, and obviously we’re all together in support trying to bring her back to her family.”

Saturday marked 107 days that Griner had been detained.

“She’s been over there for an extended amount of time,” Jaylen Brown said while wearing the shirt, “and we feel like enough is enough.”


Katie McInerney can be reached at katie.mcinerney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @k8tmac.