Phoenix Mercury fan Zariyah Odom has spent the entire WNBA season honoring star Brittney Griner.
The 12-year-old has been collecting shoes for Griner’s Heart & Sole Shoe Drive throughout the 2022 campaign as part of a show of support for the Mercury Center, wrongfully detained in Russia since February.
Odom continued to honor Griner on Friday night, when she donned a BG 42 jersey in the team’s penultimate regular season game. The Mercury beat the visiting Wings 86-74 to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The team posted a video on social media on Friday chronicling Odom’s efforts. The young fan was inspired by a speech by Mercury star Sophie Cunningham about Griner shoe riding during the team’s home opener. Odom has set a goal to raise 150 pairs of shoes in two weeks to donate to the Heart & Sole Shoe Drive.
Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison after being convicted of drug trafficking following her arrest at a Moscow region airport in February. The US government is currently in talks with Russia to broker a prisoner exchange to bring Griner home.
The Mercury has continued to honor Griner’s work with the Phoenix Rescue Mission, hosting events to promote shoe collection and collecting 2,000 pairs to date.
“I can’t wait for Brittney to be back so I can donate these shoes to her foundation and continue to collect as many shoes as possible for those less fortunate,” Odom said.