LeBron James has addressed Brittney Griner’s detainment in a new video, just one week after comparisons between the two stars went viral.
In a trailer for a new episode of “The Shop: Uninterrupted,” in which James chats about current events with guests in a setting mimicking a barbershop, James addressed the WNBA star’s ongoing detainment in Russia.
“Now, how can she feel like America has her back?” James said, in the 30-second trailer released Tuesday. “I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even want to go back to America?’”
The quote comes after comparisons between James and Griner went viral, when Griner’s Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard told reporters that if James were in the same situation, he would be home.
“If it was LeBron, he’d be home, right? It’s a statement about the value of women. It’s a statement about the value of a Black person. It’s a statement about the value of a gay person. All of those. We know it,” Nygaard said at the time.
James had not previously addressed the comparison.
After the trailer posted, James in a tweet clarified his remarks.
“My comments on “The Shop” regarding Brittney Griner wasn’t knocking our beautiful country,” James wrote. “I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days! Long story short #BringHerHome.”
The Lakers star followed that tweet with another, writing “#FreeBG.”
Griner was first arrested at a Moscow airport in February, after Russian officials said they found cannabis oil in her luggage. Griner plays basketball in Russia during the WNBA offseason to supplement her income.
In a handwritten letter to President Joe Biden, Griner detailed her situation, asking the president to help her and other American detainees.
“(As) I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever,” she wrote, according to a statement released by the communications company representing the Griner family.
Last week, she pleaded guilty to the drug charges and now faces up to 10 years in prison. Her supporters have called for her release over fears she is being used as a political pawn during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.