Sparks honor Britney Griner by delivering shoes to those in need

sparks Britney Sykes security guard and sneakers of all kinds waited for the youths of Covenant House California on Monday afternoon to complete a shoe drive in honor of Britney Griner.

Young people aged 18 to 24 lined up in the shelter’s yard to chat with Sykes and choose their favorite running shoes, donated by Sparks in partnership with a non-profit organization. marine sole. In a T-shirt that says “We are BGSykes listened to their stories and hyped them up as they bought shoes they collected throughout the WNBA season.

“They are kind of sloppy,” she told one young woman before convincing her to try on the sneakers.

This is what Griner did in Phoenix for her Heart and Sole Shoe Drive before she was detained by Russian authorities in February while traveling during the WNBA off-season to play for UMMC Yekaterinburg, an elite basketball club. During her arrest at the Moscow airport, Russian officials said that hash oil was found in Griner’s luggage.

Seven-time All-Star pleaded guilty to wearing substance during a court hearing last week, but she said she did not bring it into the country with criminal intent, and later provided a doctor’s note indicating that cannabis was recommended for pain relief. Griner’s next trial is set for July 26. She could face up to 10 years in prison.

Since her arrest, Griner’s loved ones and people from all over the sports world have campaigned to bring her home. Griner’s supporters and the basketball star herself have urged the White House to negotiate a deal for her release. Griner wrote a letter to President Biden earlier this month with a request “not to forget about me and other American prisoners.” Please do your best to bring us home.”

When the Sparks played the Phoenix Mercury in Los Angeles on July 4, the team held a shoe drive in Griner’s honor. She was known for keeping shoes in the trunk of her car to give away to those in need, and inspired Mercury to hold annual shoe promotions.

In giving back to the community, Sykes hopes keep talking about Griner and her generous spirit lives on.

“To be able to come here and collaborate with Hav a Sole and collaborate with Covenant House and be able to meet some really cool kids and just be able to honor the fact that she saw something in Phoenix and she wanted to help the problem. , you can do it anywhere,” Sykes said.

Security guard Sparks said delivering the shoes to those in need was bittersweet because Griner is still in custody. When she thinks about it, Sykes says she’s angry, especially with the circumstances leading up to her detention. Many WNBA players travel overseas during the off-season to supplement their income, as Griner did last winter.

Sykes also said that she was sad and scared.

“Put yourself in her place. She is away from her family. Imagine that you are away from your family. Imagine being away from your wife,” Sykes said of Griner. “Imagine how her mother feels. Imagine how her family feels. This is something you cannot imagine. This is something that you can only feel sympathy for and just try to do something. Just sitting and doing nothing is not normal.”

Sykes said people can help by contacting their elected officials and urging them to push for Griner’s release. While some criticize Griner for violating local laws, her supporters want people to know who she is outside of the basketball court.

Sykes said events such as the shoe sale give people a glimpse of Griner’s character.

“People may know her not only as a name and as a basketball player, but also as Britney Greener, why we love her and why we want her so badly to come back here,” Sykes said. “It’s about what she gives to society, that she is a loving friend, that she is a fool, like a bright spirit. Her heart draws you to her, which is why we want her back. “She’s not just a basketball player, she’s human and she needs to come back here with us.”