Stephen Curry Shouts Out Brittney Griner on NBA Opening Night, Social Media Reacts

by Suzanne Halliburton
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Steph Curry grabbed a microphone and devoted part of Golden State’s pre-game ring ceremony to wishing Brittney Griner a happy birthday and a safe release from a Russian prison.

Griner is the WNBA superstar and two-time Olympic gold medalist who turned 32 in prison as she awaited her transfer to a prison work camp.

“We want to continue to use our platform and the opportunity to shout out a very special member of the basketball community,” Curry said of Brittney Griner.

“We want to continue to let her name be known,” he said. “It’s been 243 days since she’s been wrongfully incarcerated in Russia. We hope that she comes home soon.”

So make that 244 days.

As expected, social media reacted. And the comments were about as polarized as everything else in this country if there’s a hint of politics.

One person wrote: “So brave. So courageous.” Another replied: “I love how Steph just triggered and made all “those” people so angry. It really doesn’t take much, if ya know what I mean.”

Then there were these sorts of replies regarding Curry’s comments on Brittney Griner: “Woke league.”

Or: “Any other felons he wants to acknowledge while he’s at it? Draymond not available?”

“He supports breaking the laws of other countries?”

Russian police detained Brittney Griner at an airport back in February. In the WNBA off season, she plays for a pro team in Russia. Police searched her luggage and found a small amount of cannabis oil in some vaping cartridges. A judge sentenced her to nine years at a prison work camp. All this came days before Russia invaded Ukraine. The United States is supporting Ukraine in the conflict.

Fox Sports journalist Kelsey Nicole Nelson tweeted: “Love that Steph Curry used his platform during NBA opening night to remind folks that it’s been 243 days since Brittney Griner was wrongfully detained and also acknowledged today is the the star’s 32nd birthday. Gotta get her home.”

This photo of Brittney Griner is from Aug. 4 as she awaited her sentencing from a Russian judge. (EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Joe Biden administration has been trying to negotiate the release of both Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, another Russia detainee who a judge sentenced to 16 years in prison. But there hasn’t been much movement. In an interview last week. President Biden said he could meet with Russia president Vladimir Putin next month at the G20 summit. But such a meeting would be contingent on talking about Griner’s release.

 “Look I have no intention of meeting with him, but look, if he came to me at the G20 summit and said, ‘I want to talk about the release of Griner,’ I would meet with him, but that would depend,” Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper. 

Earlier this month, lawyers for Brittney Griner filed for an appeal to her sentence. The hearing is Oct. 25.