The Phoenix Suns and Footprint Center honored Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner with an on-court decal for Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals series against the Dallas Mavericks.
Phoenix won 110-80 to take a 3-2 series lead and move one game away from a second consecutive trip to the conference finals.
The Suns and Footprint Center will keep the on-court decal for the remainder of the playoffs.
One family. #WeAreBG
Honoring Brittney Griner on our court for the remainder of the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/7AS3JZ5FYc
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) May 10, 2022
Suns point guard Chris Paul wore a Griner shirt with a photo of her holding a basketball on the front on his way into the arena.
— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) May 11, 2022
Griner was detained on Feb. 17 after authorities at the Moscow airport said they found vape cartridges that allegedly contained oil derived from cannabis in her luggage, which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The Biden administration determined Griner is being wrongfully detained and she has a hearing set for May 19.
Now, though, U.S. officials have shifted supervision of her case to a State Department office focused on negotiating for the release of hostages and other Americans deemed wrongfully detained.
It was unclear what prompted the shift, though President Joe Biden’s administration had been under pressure from members of Congress and others to make Griner’s release a priority.
She has played professionally during the WNBA offseason in Russia for the past seven seasons.
The decal features Griner’s initials “BG” as well as her number 42. Teams in the WNBA are also honoring Griner with a similar decal on home courts.
Phoenix dropped its season opener without Griner to the Las Vegas Aces 106-88 on Friday night.
The Suns will look to win the series in Game 6 in Dallas on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Catch all the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.