NEW YORK – One of the biggest storylines of the start of the WNBA regular season has nothing to do with any of the action on the court.

Brittney Griner, a seven-time All-Star in the league, has been detained in Russia since mid-February after officials in that country said they found vape cartridges that contained traces of cannabis oil.

Early this week, the United States says they now consider Griner to be “wrongfully detained” and will step up efforts for her release.

As that happens, the WNBA will have a show of support for Griner at every arena in the league as the regular season begins this week.

On Tuesday, the league announced that every arena will have Griner’s initials and number will be placed on the sidelines for the start of the campaign, with a new decal that’s been designed by the WNBA.

“As we begin the 2022 season, we are keeping Brittney at the forefront of what we do through the game of basketball and in the community,” said WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert in a statement released by the league.  “We continue to work on bringing Brittney home and are appreciative of the support the community has shown BG and her family during this extraordinarily challenging time.”

Along with this effort, teams from around the league will also support Griner’s charitable effort called “Heart and Sole Shoe Drive,” which was founded in 2016 to support the homeless.

The Chicago Sky will have the Griner initials and number on the court for their season opener against the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday at Wintrust Arena.