PHOENIX — You might have noticed some of the most popular basketball players in the world wearing these Brittney Griner-inspired shirts and hoodies in recent weeks to show their support for the Phoenix Mercury star.
Griner has been in Russian custody since February and in May, the U.S. government determined she was wrongfully detained.
With Griner's arrest making international headlines, a 14-year-old girl from Southern California is doing what she can to amplify BG's situation.
Isabella Escribano is known as "Jiggy Izzy" to her 240,000+ social media followers. The teenage hooper has been featured in a Gatorade campaign and played for Team Mamba under the late Kobe Bryant.
Now she's designing and distributing this popular "We Are BG" merchandise through her brand "Break The Curse."
"To see my favorite players wearing my stuff, gets me full of joy," Izzy said. "They could choose whatever they want to wear and they chose our sweaters, our T-shirts"
A portion of proceeds from sales is going to the Phoenix Rescue Mission, a local nonprofit that Griner and the Mercury have partnered with for "BG's Heart and Sole Shoe Drive" since 2016.
"I think that's her proudest piece because it's way bigger than basketball, it's way bigger than just a piece of clothing," Izzy's brother, Marco, said. "We're trying to get this merch out to every WNBA player. We're trying to get them out to NBA players because we want BG home just as much as everybody else does."
Izzy's creations have been seen on WNBA players like the New York Liberty's Sabrina Ionescu and Griner's USA Basketball teammate Breanna Stewart.
During the NBA Playoffs, Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul used his platform to showcase Izzy's merch and keep BG in the conversation.
"It was all in support of BG," Paul said of his choice to wear the "We Are BG" shirt. "Shoot, this ain't even just a WNBA or an NBA thing, I think everybody wants her home. She is a huge part of the community here. Just want to try to get her home as soon as possible."
Izzy said her heart dropped from excitement when she saw Paul wearing the shirt she designed on TV. The ambitious teen dreams of playing in the WNBA when she gets older but in between her games and training sessions, she's flexing her creative muscle to show us why the WNBA is so important.
"One thing she said to me that stood out to me was that she doesn't want any WNBA player to feel forgotten," Marco said. "She's just always been like that. She's always been a girl that dreams big -- bigger than her age, for sure. I think she's just a little rockstar."
Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard said there are plans for the team to get a briefing from the State Department when they travel to Washington to play the Mystics on June 12 and 14. Nygaard and her team have been fielding questions about Griner since news broke back in February but hope to receive some answers during the briefing.
“I just really want the Biden Administration, I want Vice President Harris to step up and really help us to bring our teammates home,” Nygaard said during her team’s media availability on Thursday. “When we go to D.C. next week, we play two games in D.C., we are getting a briefing from the State Department. They will be briefing our team on the issue. We hope that means there’s real, serious action on that issue as well. Hopefully when we’re in D.C., where the government is, maybe they can pay more attention to this because it will be a major news story. And I hope the D.C. outlets will really amplify it while we’re in town.”
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