Brittney Griner is set to become a member of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, who have the first overall pick in the upcoming WNBA draft. That is basically a foregone conclusion at this point, but what about the possibility of pursuing an NBA career?
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban created quite the stir last week when he said he was considering drafting Griner in the second round of the NBA Draft. Griner certainly seems excited about the possibility, but many people feel that it is insane to think a woman could physically compete with men. During an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday, Barkley let it be known that he is one of those people.
“She can’t play against guys,” Barkley said, via Nick Birdsong of AI.com. “I mean, you’re going to go at her, probably aggressively, cause you’re offended that she’s trying to play against you cause it’s kind of an insult to you. But she can’t play with men and I think whether she plays against a guy who has no…cause most of those guys, let’s…who are we kidding? Ninety to 95 percent of those guys who pay in the summer league are never going to play in the NBA.”
UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma shared some similar thoughts earlier this week, saying it would be a publicity “sham” if Cuban ever did give Griner a chance to play for the Mavericks.
“I agree with Geno,” Barkley continued. “I mean, if you brought her in, yeah they’d sell some tickets to the summer league which I don’t understand what type of loser would go to the summer league anyway. But I agree with Geno 100 percent. A girl can’t play against men. It’s just a publicity (stunt). Mark’s one of my great friends, great friends. But a woman can’t play against a man.”
My gut tells me Barkley and Auriemma are right. WNBA legend Lisa Leslie told Larry Brown Sports earlier this week that Griner would have to bulk up to play in the NBA. I’m not sure how easy that would be and I’m skeptical Griner even has the skill set needed to compete against some of the best male basketball players in the world.