Stephen Curry, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Nneka Ogwumike Support Brittney Griner at 2022 ESPY Awards

WNBA star Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia since February 17

The 2022 ESPY Awards shined a light on Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who has been detained in Russia since February 17.

During the broadcast, host Stephen Curry announced that the ESPYs was recognizing the WNBA as the humanitarian league of the year for their work fighting inequality.

Curry welcomed WNBA stars Skylar Diggins-Smith and Nneka Ogwumike to the stage to accept the award, but said that "we also need to acknowledge one who isn't here."

"Her name is right here on this jersey," he said, pointing to the Phoenix Mercury jersey he was wearing.

"BG is a WNBA champion," Ogwumike said. "She's an eight-time WNBA All-Star. A national champion in college. An Olympic gold medalist. An athlete that has fans all over the world. A human being whose predicament demands attention."

"It's been 153 nights now that BG has been wrongfully detained thousands of miles away from home," Diggins-Smith continued. "Away from her family. Away from her friends. away from her team. All throughout that time, we've kept her in our thoughts, and in our hearts. Even though we know, that ain't nearly enough to bring her home, y'all."

Nneka Ogwumike, Stephen Curry and Skylar Diggins-Smith. ABC via Getty

"There are a lot of people working hard right now to secure Brittney's release. But as we hope for the best, we urge the entire global sports community to stay energized on her behalf," Curry said Wednesday. "Because Brittney isn't just on the Phoenix Mercury, she isn't just on her team in Russia, she isn't just an Olympian. She's one of us, a team of athletes in this room tonight and all over the world. A team that has nothing to do with global conflict."

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"The more we say her name, the louder our voices will be," Ogwumike said. "The more we see her face, the closer we'll feel to her, and her to us," Diggins-Smith continued. "We can not stop fighting for her, we cannot stop believing for her, and we will not stop hoping for the day we can welcome her home safely," Curry ended.

"We are, BG," the three said together.

In February, Griner was arrested at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow after officials allegedly found vape cartridges containing hash oil, an illegal substance in Russia, in her luggage.

The U.S. State Department later officially classified Griner as wrongfully detained by the Russian Federation.

Griner's trial in Russia began on July 1, and on July 7 the WNBA star pleaded guilty to smuggling drugs into the country. She faces up to 10 years if she is convicted.

Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing in the Khimki district court
Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing in the Khimki district court. Jim Heintz/AP/Shutterstock

In a statement shared with PEOPLE earlier this month, Brittney's legal team — Maria Blagovolina from Rybalkin Gortsunyan Dyakin and Alexander Boykov from Moscow Legal Center — says her plea "was her decision informed by discussion with her legal defense team in Russia."

Her lawyers say that because of "the nature of her case, the insignificant amount of the substance and BG's personality and history of positive contributions to global and Russian sport," they are hopeful that her plea will help the athlete avoid a "severe sentence."

The ESPY Awards, hosted by four-time NBA Champion Stephen Curry, is airing live Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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