Memphis Grizzlies’ Taylor Jenkins on Brittney Griner: ‘To have our sister back is super important’

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The Memphis Grizzlies have strongly supported Brittney Griner while the Phoenix Mercury All-Star center was detained in Russia. It continued Friday after she landed in the United States following her release from a Russian penal colony a day earlier.

During pregame availability, coach Taylor Jenkins said the team was ecstatic when they heard news of Griner’s release on Thursday and addressed it further in a private team conversation. Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. wore black hoodies with Griner’s name, face and jersey after a practice in October and several teammates have worn the hoodie during games.

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“To have our sister back is super important, super powerful to reunite her with her family. I know this was an extremely tough (ordeal) that we can’t even fathom,” Jenkins said. “But to know we have our sister back, whole with her family, the NBA community, the WNBA community, it’s super important, super special but obviously there’s a lot more work to do to bring other Americans home.”

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Morant and Jackson each sent tweets Thursday applauding the decision as did Grizzlies assistant coach Sonia Raman.

Griner was detained in Russia after being arrested on Feb. 17 for allegedly trying to bring vape cartridges containing cannabis oil into the country. She was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony but was released into United States custody Thursday as part of a prisoner exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

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Mar 15, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) warms up before the game against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

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“We have fans making their own gear, wearing their Sunday best — or as we call it their ‘Grizzlies best.’ We thought [191 Collabs] would be a great way to take this subculture of Memphis and bring it to the forefront.

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