Charles Barkley on Brittney Griner in the NBA: ‘A girl can’t play against men’

Brittney GrinerBrittney 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.

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Lisa Leslie: Brittney Griner would have to bulk up to play in NBA

Brittney GrinerCould Brittney Griner play in the NBA? That has been a debated topic since Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said last week that he would consider taking the former Baylor star in the NBA draft, or at least giving her a shot to try out for the roster.

Lisa Leslie is one of the best women’s basketball players of all time. Even though playing in the NBA was never a goal for her, she wouldn’t want to discourage Griner from trying to play in the league.

“If that’s a goal of Brittney Griner, then she should follower her dreams,” Leslie told Larry Brown Sports in a phone interview on Tuesday. “But, if it’s not — because she didn’t ask for Mark Cuban to come out and say those things, he did that on his own — so if that’s not what she wants to do, that’s the purpose of the WNBA. [The WNBA is here] for her to come into a league that’s for women and for her to come in and completely try to dominate and take us to new heights.

“That’s where I see Brittney Griner living and doing a phenomenal job of being one of the best players that we’ve ever seen play the women’s game.”

The WNBA draft is on April 15 and the season begins in May. The NBA Draft is in June, which would present a scheduling conflict. Leslie says Griner has a choice to make, and she has advice for the 6-foot-8 center.

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Geno Auriemma: It is ‘ludicrous’ to think Brittney Griner could play in the NBA

Brittney GrinerDallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban created the exact type of buzz he was looking for on Tuesday when he told reporters that he would consider taking Baylor star Brittney Griner in the second round of the NBA Draft. While Cuban basically admitted that it would be a great business move, he also insisted he is curious to see how Griner would stack up against NBA talent.

“If she is the best on the board, I will take her,” Cuban said. “I’ve thought about it. I’ve thought about it already. Would I do it? Right now, I’d lean toward yes, just to see if she can do it. You never know unless you give somebody a chance, and it’s not like the likelihood of any late-50s draft pick has a good chance of making it.”

UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma thinks that is a terrible idea. Auriemma was complimentary about what Cuban has done as an owner, but he said drafting Griner into the NBA would be nothing but a “sham.”

“Mark Cuban is a genius,’’ Auriemma said during a conference call on Wednesday, via The Times-Pacayune. “He’s done an awful lot for basketball. But his genius would take a huge hit if he drafted her. It would be a public relations thing, a sham. To think a woman could compete to the level of (NBA players) is ludicrous.’’

We tend to agree. Cuban might not care about his genius taking a hit with the type of money he could make, but Auriemma is probably right. And coming from someone who many consider to be the face of women’s college basketball, it holds a little more weight.

Griner is 6-foot-8 and scored 3,238 points in her career. She also blocked 736 shots. If any woman was going to be able to keep up with NBA players, she would be a good candidate. That being said, I don’t think we’ve seen a woman who can.

Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Mark Cuban considering drafting Brittney Griner

Brittney GrinerBrittney Griner just closed out a dominant career as a women’s basketball player at Baylor, and she is likely headed to the pros. But will that be the NBA or the WNBA?

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who is known for being an outside-the-box thinker, says he is open to giving the 6-foot-8 star center a shot to see if she can play in the NBA.

Cuban told reporters before Tuesday’s Mavericks-Los Angeles Lakers game that he would consider selecting Griner in the second-round of the NBA Draft.

“If she is the best on the board, I will take her,” Cuban said, via ESPN Dallas’ Tim McMahon. “I’ve thought about it. I’ve thought about it already. Would I do it? Right now, I’d lean toward yes, just to see if she can do it. You never know unless you give somebody a chance, and it’s not like the likelihood of any late-50s draft pick has a good chance of making it.”

Cuban also said he would at least be open to inviting her to play for the team’s summer league squad. Not only is Cuban curious to see whether Griner can play at an NBA level, but he also knows such a signing would be great for business.

“That’d sell out a few games,” he said.

Cuban told reporters he would not carry Griner on the team unless she earned a spot.

ESPN notes that a woman trying out for an NBA team would not be unprecedented. In 1979, Ann Meyers tried out for the Indiana Pacers but did not make the team.

A few hours after the report emerged, Griner posted a link to the story on her Twitter account and said, “I would hold my own! Lets do it.”

If anyone deserves a shot to compete with the men, it probably is Griner. The three-time All-American player blocked 736 shots in her career and averaged at least 23 points per game each of her last three seasons. I don’t think she would be able to hang with NBA players, but I sure would be intrigued to see how she would do.

The WNBA Draft is on April 15, and the Phoenix Mercury have the first pick. The WNBA regular season begins in May, which could present a conflict considering the NBA Draft is scheduled to take place on June 27. Griner might have to choose between the WNBA regular season and playing in the NBA Summer League if Cuban does sign her. You have to imagine she wouldn’t pass on the opportunity to try out for an NBA team if she gets the chance.

Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Brittney Griner dunks again in Baylor win (Video)

Brittney Griner dunkBrittney Griner highlighted Baylor’s first-round NCAA tournament victory over Prairie View A&M Sunday with an easy dunk from the baseline.

Griner took a pass from Odyssey Sims that went nearly three-quarters of the court and went under the basket for a one-handed dunk.

The dunk marked the 15th in Griner’s career. She finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds, and six blocks in her team’s 82-40 win.

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw: Brittney Griner dominates ‘like a guy playing with women’

Brittney Griner had 26 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks in Baylor’s national championship win over Notre Dame Tuesday in Denver. Griner helped lead Baylor to a 40-0 season and was so dominant that Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said Griner is “like a guy playing with women.”

Here’s how the exchange went in the postgame press conference:

Q: Muffet, have you ever seen anyone who has ever been able to impact the game at least down low as Brittney did and obviously as she did tonight?

COACH McGRAW: No. I think she’s one of a kind. I think she’s like a guy playing with women. It’s just there’s so many things that she can do that I’ve not seen a lot of women‑‑ well, really, you know, there’s been some guards that had some skill like that. But as a post player she’s the best I’ve ever seen.

It’s Always Sunny in Detroit provides us with video of McGraw’s quote:

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Lisa Leslie says Brittney Griner deserves to be on the Olympic Roster

On Tuesday morning, LBS spoke with WNBA legend and four-time Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie, who was touring to promote the Capital One Cup. The Capital One Cup is awarded each year to the men’s and women’s athletic programs with the most points based on academic and athletic performance. Leslie said she is proud to be a part of it because it honors student athletes — something she is proud to call herself — and will award a combined $400,000 in scholarships to the winning programs this year. You can learn more about the Capital One Cup through Twitter and Facebook, and also by following Lisa Leslie on Twitter.

With the Summer Olympics right around the corner, the U.S. Women’s team is aiming to take home its fifth consecutive gold medal. The team is once again loaded with some of the best players in the world, but one of the 12 roster spots remains unfilled. Many believe that spot is being held for Baylor star Brittney Griner, who will attempt to lead the Bears to a national championship against Notre Dame on Tuesday night. Leslie is one of those people.

“I would 100 percent put Brittney Griner as the 12th player on the Olympic roster for London,” Leslie told LBS. “I know we’ve named 11 but I think with her ability to change the game and clog the lane and block shots, I wouldn’t leave the country without her.”

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