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Brittney Griner To The NBA? Realistic, Or A PR Stunt?

Mark Cuban, genius?

Tuesday night, ESPN Dallas reported that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stated that he would give Baylor senior Brittney Griner a chance to try out for his NBA team.

ESPN Dallas reported that before the Mavs’ game on Tuesday night, Cuban stated:

“If she is the best on the board, I will take her. 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.”

With her towering 6-foot-8 figure, there’s no question that Brittney Griner has the ability to compete with the Candace Parker’s, Maya Moore’s, and Diana Taurasi’s of the WNBA, but can she compete with elite NBA stars such as Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony?

Griner dominated the NCAA throughout her career at Baylor, scoring 3,283 points and blocking 748 shots. The Baylor star also had 18 dunks in her four years of college, 11 of them coming in her senior season.

While Griner might have a height advantage over superstars like Kobe Bryant or Russell Westbrook, her thin figure causes curiosity of whether she could hold her own against the big bodies of the NBA.

This wouldn’t be the first time a woman has been considered to try out for an NBA team. In 1979, former UCLA great Ann Meyers tried out for the Indiana Pacers.

Twitter is skeptical, per usual:

Connecticut women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma weighed in on Cuban’s comments in a teleconference.

“Obviously Mark Cuban is a genius because he's been able to parlay some great ideas into billion dollar industries and he's done a great job as owner of the Dallas Mavericks. He's won an NBA championship and he's done an awful lot for basketball. His genius would take a huge hit if he drafted Brittney Griner. And if Brittney Griner tries to make it to an NBA team, I think it would be a public relations thing and I think it would be a sham. The fact that a woman could actually play right now in the NBA and compete successfully against the level of play that they have is absolutely ludicrous,” Auriemma said.

Interestingly enough, Cuban responded to Auriemma’s comments in an e-mail to USA Today’s Kelly Whiteside.

“We evaluate every draft eligible player on the planet," Cuban said. "The chance of any college graduate selected at the end of the draft making a roster is very, very small. We wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't consider everyone. As I told the media yesterday, she would have to excel in workouts to get drafted. I have no problem giving her that opportunity. I hope she gives it a shot. Nothing harms an organization or company more than a closed mind," Cuban said.

There’s no doubt that post-graduation, Brittney Griner will go on to be a top pick if she chooses to enter the WNBA draft, but should she find Mark Cuban’s comments offensive or flattering?

A female athlete controlling her sport in such a dominating way has led many to believe that she is in fact playing for the wrong team. 

It takes intelligence to be the owner of an NBA team such as the Mavericks, and Griner should be proud of at least being in the conservation. However, could this just be a way to get more seats filled at Mavs games? Cuban spoke with ESPN Dallas and stated that having Griner on the team would “sell out a few games.” 

Whether Mark Cuban will follow through with his comments is unknown at this time, but Brittney Griner seemed more flattered than offended by his comments.