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Isabella Escribano Is the Teen Baller Behind the Brittney Griner Hoodies


For more hours now than she will remember, Isabella Escribano sat on the orange couch inside her garage, iPad in hand, crafting clothing designs that she hoped would aid one among her favorite basketball players.

That player, Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, was arrested in Russia in February after customs officials said they found hashish oil, a cannabis derivative, in her luggage at an airport near Moscow. In May, the U.S. government said that Griner had been wrongfully detained, but on Aug. 4 she was convicted on a drug charge in Russia and sentenced to nine years in a penal colony. She has appealed her conviction.

Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, reached out to Escribano in March to collaborate on apparel that she hoped W.N.B.A. players would wear to bring awareness to Griner’s situation. Kagawa Colas said she had chosen Escribano for 2 reasons: Escribano, 14, is a preferred girls’ basketball player with over 100,000 Instagram followers, and he or she has her own clothing brand of W.N.B.A. streetwear called Break The Curse.

Escribano, who’s within the eighth grade, said she “desired to make the shirt for Brittney Griner as loud as possible.”

Operating from the garage at her parents’ home in Santa Clarita, Calif., Escribano and her older brothers, Marco Escribano and Anthony Lizarraga, landed on a colourful design that has been sported by players across the W.N.B.A. this season.

The front of the design, seen on hoodies and T-shirts, includes a smiling Griner in her Mercury jersey with a basketball that reads “WEAREBG” — the phrase that has grow to be the rallying cry in the general public campaign for her release. Griner’s jersey number, 42, is wrapped across the left side, and on the back, her first and last name are printed in capital letters.

“I desired to ensure that that the shirt meant something,” Isabella Escribano said. “Like, if you see it, it’s something big. It’s mainly an announcement.” She added: “What we wish to do is start a conversation, like whoever wears it’s supporting her, mainly saying, ‘Free Brittney Griner.’”

Sydney Bordonaro, who styles outfits for several W.N.B.A. players, including Las Vegas Aces guards Kelsey Plum and Chelsea Gray, said the distinctive look of the Griner clothing made it attractive.

“It’s just super fly,” Bordonaro said. “Like, you might wear it out to the club or to an event. It’s not prefer it’s a jersey or, you understand, only a corny T-shirt.”

What to Know Concerning the Brittney Griner Case

Connecticut Sun point guard Jasmine Thomas packs the T-shirt or hoodie for each game. Having Griner’s face on the front gives the items an intense and emotional aspect that makes them stand out, she said.

“I believe for somebody that’s not even a W.N.B.A. fan, they routinely see her face, after which in the event that they don’t already know what’s occurring, they research B.G. to get to know her, what she’s about, who she is, why she’s so essential and why she needs to return home,” Thomas said.

Marco Escribano, 24, said 215 T-shirts and sweatshirts had been sent to W.N.B.A. players, other skilled athletes and coaches free of charge. Break the Curse and Wasserman, the agency that represents Griner, split the manufacturing costs ($75 for the T-shirts, $80 for the sweatshirts) and share among the shipping costs.

Break the Curse also sells the T-shirt for $120 and the sweatshirt for $150 on its website. The proceeds are used to cover the corporate’s portion of the production and shipping costs for the clothing sent to W.N.B.A. players and others. About 250 total T-shirts and sweatshirts have been sold; that hasn’t been enough yet to cover Break The Curse’s costs, but having players wearing the design has increased the web site’s traffic significantly and led to other merchandise sales, Marco Escribano said.

The short turnarounds for some requests have been a challenge, like when Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul wanted a shirt during his team’s playoff matchup with the Dallas Mavericks in May.

On the time, only two shirts were made, and so they were samples. One was shipped to Paul overnight, nevertheless it never made it to him, by some means lost within the delivery process. So the brothers washed the opposite one — which that they had planned to maintain for themselves — and shipped it to Paul, who wore it to Game 5 of the series.

“I just was like: ‘We’ll just send him this, bro. Spray some cologne on it and just let it go,’” Marco Escribano said while laughing. “It’s crazy that Chris Paul was wearing our shirt.”

The American basketball star has endured months in a Russian prison on charges of smuggling hashish oil into the country.

Not one of the family had experience in manufacturing clothing before last 12 months, and Marco Escribano said they learned recent facets of the style industry with every design.

Isabella Escribano’s celebrity has drawn athletes and others to the brand. Her YouTube videos showcase the tight handle and shifty moves that earned her the moniker Jiggy. She has a bigger social media following than some W.N.B.A. players, and plenty of skilled men’s and ladies’s basketball players have followed her journey since she was 10 years old.

Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson wore her first-ever design — a Chicago Sky-themed hoodie — last 12 months, and Likelihood the Rapper wore it onstage at a concert. Plum, the Aces guard, wore an unreleased jacket that Escribano worked on for 4 months to Game 2 of Las Vegas’s playoff series against Phoenix this month. The jacket featured different W.N.B.A. team logos and had “STOP WNBA HATE” in red on the inside.

Thomas, the Sun guard, remembered meeting Escribano years ago after a game, so when she found that “little Isabella” was behind the Griner design, she felt more inclined to support the brand. “I’m just super happy with Isabella for with the ability to understand how essential her platform is and using it at such a young age,” Thomas said. “That’s exactly what we wish to see from young girls, and he or she’s really a job model and a pacesetter in so some ways.”

But because the brand grows, Escribano’s primary focus remains to be on playing basketball and making it to the W.N.B.A. When she’s not creating designs, she spends most of her time within the gym, where she trains with Phil Handy, a Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach, amongst others. She said she would keep the brand going so long as she had a passion for it.

“There’s lots of girls like me or other those that love the W.N.B.A. and wish to support the W.N.B.A., but there’s not lots of clothes to do this,” Escribano said. “So, I just need to make it possible for anybody that loves women’s basketball to find a way to purchase and wear it.”

She added: “More often than not, I take into consideration after I’m within the W.N.B.A. and the way I won’t need to go buy clothes. I could just wear my very own stuff.”

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