When it comes to women’s sports, you won’t find anyone as invested in its advancement as Ari Chambers. The founder of HighlightHer and a 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree, the New York-based creative has made it her mission to give women and non-binary people the same exposure and recognition as their male counterparts.
It’s expanded beyond just athletics, and as of late, Chambers’ focus has been on his continued efforts to reunite Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner with her family. On August 4, Griner was convicted of entering Russia with less than a gram of cannabis oil in February. Despite Griner’s emotional pleas for mercy, a Russian judge sentenced the 31-year-old to nine years.
“As fans of the game and as citizens of the United States, we should call his name,” Chambers told Yahoo Sports. “We should make sure we contact the president and sign the petition [Joe Biden]and using the resources available at wearebg.org.”
Chambers told Yahoo Sports that he remains in constant contact with Griner’s wife, Cheryl.
“Cheryl is a good friend of mine. So knowing how strong Cheryl has to be, we all owe it to her. We have to lift her up and keep her surrounded by love and know what a beautiful soul Britney is,” Chambers said. “In terms of the women’s basketball community, we’re bonded by the ball, we’re a family. And this is our overseas sister. So we won’t be a complete family until she’s back on U.S. soil. Anyone can take the negativity. She’s a man. She’s a wife. . She’s a mother, she’s a sister. And we just, we just need her.”
As talks continue between the Biden administration and the Russian government, Chambers detailed how he, Cheryl and the rest of Griner’s inner circle are keeping hope alive during these difficult times.
“I think we can continue to show the humanity. I think it’s one thing to say her name over and over, but just show the humanity of Britney. She’s not this fictional character, she’s literally a human being,” Chambers said. “I know there was a lot of action when they saw her picture in prison. It’s so sad. I personally decided to post the happy moments of Britney playing on the court.
“She’s a black, queer woman, and she’s a triple threat of everything the world hates. We’ve been taught to believe that her presence can be scary, so I’m with Cheryl and the rest of Britney’s supporters focusing on portraying her as that kind of, compassionate person. He always was.”
Being intentional about partnerships
Chambers’ commitment to equality in sports also permeates her partnership, and the 31-year-old understands the value of teaming up with brands committed to elevating the voices of women and non-binary individuals. after a year Baeja Velez makes history with a signature ball with Wilson Sporting GoodsChambers is following in his footsteps to release a collaboration with the storied brand this week.
“I remember newspaper articles where I wrote about the girls’ basketball team. I was the girls’ basketball manager. Boosting the women’s game was already written for me because the passion was there. But there’s more to do,” Chambers said. “The goal is to make it fair for men to play. And we’re a long way from that right now. Every time I think, ‘God, this is so exhausting,’ I think of Britney and all the other changemakers that came before me. , and I know The target has not yet been met.”
The all-black, limited-edition ball is accented by gold stripes across the stitching. Chambers has teased a number of Easter eggs fans will notice immediately at first glance. One of the more obvious design elements is the textured map on both sides of Raleigh, North Carolina. Although he no longer considers North Carolina home, 919 is where Chambers discovered his love of the game. Additional details include his favorite Bible verse (Romans 8:31) and a shield representing his high school, Southeast Raleigh High School.
“I hope the ball will bring people joy and give them a way to see. But believe me, we’re just getting started,” he said.
Priced at $96.19 (commemorating the passage of the 96th and 19th Amendments to recognize a woman’s right to vote, the year the WNBA began), the Ari Chambers x Wilson Basketball will drop on August 18th at wilson.com.