Brittney Griner’s shoe drive collects extra donations than ever because of Phoenix Mercury

With heart Brittney Griner imprisoned in Russia since February, her WNBA group, the Phoenix Mercury, have continued to verify her presence is felt within the league and the local people.

That features working with Griner’s basis, BG’s Coronary heart & Sole Shoe Drive, in her absence. On Wednesday, the Mercury announced that the group and its followers have collected greater than 3,200 pairs of latest and gently used sneakers and raised greater than $27,000 to profit Phoenix Rescue Mission.

The Mercury mentioned this season’s drive collected extra sneakers than the primary 4 years of this system mixed, which was roughly 2,000 pairs. Griner, who turns 32 in October, has lengthy been identified for her work with these in want in Phoenix, and the Mercury needed to guarantee that mission continued.

The group partnered with Phoenix Rescue Mission for 3 distribution occasions all through the season the place Mercury gamers, coaches, employees and followers distributed sneakers, hygiene kits, water and different assets to these in want throughout the realm.

Different WNBA groups had comparable shoe drives of their markets, with greater than 3,400 pairs collected, the Mercury mentioned.

Griner based BG’s Coronary heart and Sole Shoe Drive in 2016 after seeing unhoused individuals within the warmth of Phoenix summer season with out sneakers. Since arriving in Phoenix in 2013, Griner has been acknowledged a number of occasions with the WNBA Neighborhood Help Award for her affect within the space.

All year long, the Mercury coaches and gamers have continuously spoken in help of Griner, whom the franchise selected with the No. 1 choose within the 2013 WNBA draft and helped the group win the 2014 championship. Griner can be a two-time Olympic gold medalist for the US.

She was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in February on drug prices when returning to Russia to complete her abroad season there. Griner pleaded responsible in July, saying that the vape cartridges containing cannabis oil have been in her baggage unintentionally. Griner had no actual alternative however to enter a responsible plea, consultants on the Russian judicial system mentioned.

She was sentenced to 9 years in jail in early August. In keeping with consultants, her finest likelihood of being launched sooner would relaxation on a prisoner swap between the US and Russia.