Warriors, Celtics wear ‘end gun violence’ T-shirts before Game 2, ‘We Are BG’ shirts during Saturday practice

On Sunday, players and coaches from both the Warriors and Celtics wore orange t-shirts before Game 2 that said “end gun violence.” The NBA has been more vocal and active in pushing for legislation to curb gun violence, following the fatal shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, last month.

“I think we feel very strongly as a league that it’s time for people to take notice and to take part in what should be a nationwide effort to limit the gun violence that’s out there,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “And there are ways to limit it. There are proven laws that are waiting to be passed, whether it’s background checks or what have you. There are things we can do that would not violate people’s Second Amendment rights, but would save lives. The idea behind wearing the shirts for both teams is to make people aware that they can contribute to different gun safety, gun violence prevention groups.”

A number of Boston Celtics players wore “We Are BG” T-shirts to practice on Saturday, in protest of WNBA star Brittney Griner’s ongoing detention in Russia.

“She’s been over there for an extended amount of time, and we feel like enough is enough,” Jaylen Brown said.

Griner, 31, of the Phoenix Mercury, was playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason when she was arrested at an airport near Moscow in February and accused of smuggling cannabis oil in her luggage. The US State Department has classified her ongoing detainment of 107 days as “wrongfully detained.”

The WNBA and Griner’s teammates on Team USA have been vocal in recent days, demanding her release and urging the Biden administration to bring her home. Initially Griner’s friends and family were quiet about her detention, over fears she would be used as a pawn as tensions mount between the US and Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.

Before Game 1 on Thursday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said “it’s something that all of us should be heard on, contacting your representatives and others.” He said the NBA was working “in lockstep with the US government and outside experts on trying to expedite her release in any way we can.”

The Celtics, who lead the Golden State Warriors 1-0 in the NBA Finals, wore the Griner T-shirts into the arena for practice on Saturday. They were the idea of ​​Boston’s union player rep, Grant Williams, Brown said.

Boston star Jayson Tatum traveled with Griner to Tokyo last summer with USA Basketball for the Olympics. Due to COVID-19 protocol, the men’s and women’s teams couldn’t leave the hotel during down time and formed a bond by hanging out in a shared hospitality suite.

“Great person to be around — she just enlightens the entire room with her personality,” Tatum said. “So it’s extremely tough seeing what she’s going through. I know everybody sees and feels that, and obviously we’re all together in support trying to bring her back to her family and things like that.”

The Celtics’ shirts had a QR code on the back people can scan for more information.

“We’re asking everybody in the sports world to come together collectively and fight this,” Marcus Smart told The Athletic. “We over here, our brothers and our sisters in this game, we won’t allow that and we’re not going to stand for it. We stand with her.”

Game 2 of the finals is Sunday at 8 pm ET.

Boston reporter Jared Weiss contributed to this report.

(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

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