LeBron James calls for Brittney Griner's release

Lakers star joins other NBA players lobbying White House to return Olympian to US

LeBron James called on the White House to secure the release of detained WNBA star Brittney Griner. AFP
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LeBron James and other NBA stars have called on President Joe Biden's administration to help to secure the release of WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia for more than 100 days.

The Los Angeles Lakers star also shared a statement and pointed his followers to a QR code to sign a petition advocating Griner's release.

"We need to come together and help do whatever we possibly can to bring BG home quickly and safely!! Our voice as athletes is stronger together," James tweeted on Sunday night.

"For over 100 days, BG has faced inhumane conditions in a Russian prison and has been denied communications with her family and loved ones.

"It is imperative that the US Government immediately address this human rights issue and do whatever is necessary to return Brittney home."

James added his voice to a growing list of athletes pushing Mr Biden's administration for Griner's release.

His teammate Carmelo Anthony last week posted a video on Twitter, which said: "She is a human and she needs to come home."

On Saturday, Boston Celtics players Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and others wore black and orange "We are BG" shirts before a practice session during the NBA Finals. The back of the shirts featured the same QR code linking to the petition.

"We feel like enough is enough," Brown said of Griner's detention.

Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February after Russian authorities reportedly uncovered multiple cannabis oil vape cartridges in her suitcase. She could be sentenced to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The US State Department last month classified Griner as "wrongfully detained" by Russia, a classification suggesting that the US be more aggressive in securing her release.

Roger Carstens, US special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, is leading efforts to secure Griner's release. Bill Richardson, former US ambassador to the United Nations, has agreed to join the team after securing former marine Trevor Reed's release.

A Russian court extended Griner's pretrial detention until this month at the earliest.

Updated: June 06, 2022, 3:57 PM