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UConn coach Auriemma tells Cuban not to draft Brittney Griner

Apr 4, 2013, 3:45 PM EDT

Brittney Griner AP

It was a relatively small comment by Mark Cuban on a night of big things — Dallas losing to the Lakers, Shaq’s number being retired — but it has taken on a life of its own. A debate of its own.

Mark Cuban simply said he’d consider drafting Baylor women’s basketball star Brittney Griner.

It has become the hot topic of sport talk — could she really play in the NBA? (No.) Should Cuban draft her? Should she even get a tryout or a shot in Summer League? Is this all just a marketing ploy?

Legendary Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma weighed in and urged Cuban to back off, as reported by the USA Today.

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.

Cuban responded to that comment via email to the USA Today.

“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 is spot on here. Is Griner going to play in the NBA? No — at 6’8” she can essentially play a Shaq-style big-man game at the women’s college level and dominate. In the NBA if you are 6’8” you better be bull strong or quick out on the perimeter and able to knock down threes. Griner is neither. Is Cuban going to draft her? No, there will be a better gamble as a basketball player on the board.

But so what if he brings her in for a workout? So what if she gets a spot on a Summer League team? I keep hearing how she will be embarrassed by that level of competition — I’m not sold that is true. But whether that is or isn’t that should her call to make, the Mavericks’ call to make.

Is it marketing? Yes. So what? The NBA is a marketing business that sells basketball. They sell you (and sponsors/advertisers) LeBron James and Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. Sure, those guys can ball at the highest level in the world, but they are marketed and they market themselves. If Griner and the Mavs want to do that, if they want to see how she does in a workout setting, they should do it.

  1. teehov843 - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    If Griner can get an invite, then might as well invite Mya Moore and Candace Parker too…

    • 808raiderinparadise - Apr 4, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      IF CHRIS BOSH CAN DO IT, then why not Brittney Griner?

      • solomon151 - Apr 5, 2013 at 6:55 AM

        @808raider Rotflmao!!!!!!! Besides, I always thought she was a dude anyway

      • sasquash20 - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! I almost fell over after that

  2. nolanwiffle - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    The Pacers invited Ann Meyers for a tryout already…… 1979. It didn’t work then either.

  3. thetooloftools - Apr 4, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    “Thetooloftools Tells Auriemma “Don’t Get Hooked”.

  4. lameasish - Apr 4, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    She will get embarrassed, I’m not being mean about it, it’s just true. Guys who actually have a shot of making a team through summer league games won’t want to foul her or play her tough. This is a sham and Cuban is only doing it as a PR stunt, which shouldn’t surprise anyone.

    • sasquash20 - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      I disagree. I think they will foul the heck out of her. Send a message. What dude whats to be beat out by a girl?

  5. bigmeechy74 - Apr 4, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    The worst division III men’s team would beat the women’s olympic team by 40 or 50. This is such a non story. Just like the #500 ranked male tennis player would beat serena williams 6-0, 6-0. It’s just simple science. Bigger,faster, stronger. The women wouldn’t get one rebound and wouldn’t get one clean shot off. Brittney Griner would get destroyed if she tried to play with these dudes. I’m not a sexist, I’m a realist.

    • savvybynature - Apr 4, 2013 at 7:39 PM

      No, you’re a sexist.

      The #500 ranked male in the world would not beat Serena Williams in her prime 6-0, 6-0. You’re either an idiot, totally ignorant about tennis, a sexist, or all three.

    • solomon151 - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:02 AM

      No f’ing way. The USA girls Olympic would crush any d3 men’s team. And no way the 500th ranked dude can or would beat Serena. No way. That’s taking it too far. Brittney Griner couldn’t play in the NBA, but why not give her a chance. It would only make her better

      • bigmeechy74 - Apr 5, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        Do you have any idea just how good the 500th best male tennis player in the world is? And how much faster and stronger he would be than serena? Have you ever watched girls play basketball? The D3 men would literally get every rebound. They would box out and block every shot too. And get to the rim with ease. The women literally wouldn’t block one of theirs shots. The men are bigger, stronger, faster…. period. Use your brain man. P.S. Do you remember that dumb show that would air on MTV once a year called “rock n jock basketball?” It had pro athletes and musicians playing an exhibition together. Anyway, one year they had wnba players out there and the male SINGERS were noticeably better than the pro girls. Brian Mcknight was flying by them and over them and he is a SINGER. Men are better athletes than women by far. it’s just a scientific fact.

  6. jimmerg31385 - Apr 4, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    “I keep hearing how she will be embarrassed by that level of competition — I’m not sold that is true.”

    She’s 6’8″ 200 lbs and plays a low post game, you’re either a) kidding yourself or b) not knowledgeable with respect to basketball (to put this in reference durant is 6’9″ 235).

    • savvybynature - Apr 4, 2013 at 7:40 PM

      How does putting Durant’s height and weight out there put this in perspective? Durant is a top 10 player in the world and Helin was talking about her competing against D-League players.

  7. senorpapino - Apr 4, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    I think the only way a woman ever makes it in the NBA is as a Barbosa/Bouges type player. Super fast (like Olympic track fast) with an incredible three point shot. I doubt a woman could ever have the strength to be able to hang with 275-300 pound guys on the block while simultaneously having a 35-40 inch vertical.

  8. jimsjam33 - Apr 4, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Let her go one on one with a relatively average small forward like Matt Barnes of the L.A. Clippers . He’s 6’7″ …He’s extrememly fast , can jump , he will muscle and fight you in a second , throw down a thunder dunk , hit the three , get out on the fast break , pin point pass , and defend .

    Poor Brittany Griner . She’s 6’8″ ., slow , a lady , no thunder dunks , no three’s , no fast breaks , passing is okay , and muscle who in the NBA ?

    Mr. Cuban let this young girl proceed in her life with dignity . She will be fine in the WNBA . Don’t embarrass her or make her try-out with your team a laughing stock marketing play . She at least deserves that .

    • savvybynature - Apr 4, 2013 at 7:45 PM

      She doesn’t have to try out for anything if she doesn’t want to. You act like Cuban is putting a gun to her head. For most basketball players getting drafted would be a great honor, and competing against other talented players is fun. Why should she be embarrassed if she didn’t make it? Failing at something that is incredibly difficult is not embarrassing, but showing the courage to try deserves praise, sheesh.

  9. kvanhorn87 - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Geno is right on but how does this sit in their locker room. The point is valid but wording surely poor at best.

  10. buccobrigade - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    This whole idea is such utter nonsense.

  11. kb2408 - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Why is his wording poor? You don’t think his players don’t already know they can’t compete on the NBA level?

  12. valeb2012 - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    “I keep hearing how she will be embarrassed by that level of competition — I’m not sold that is true.”

    Would you like to make a friendly wager?
    I bet if Griner plays any meaningful minutes in a game against guys, she will be thoroughly embarrassed. And I mean thoroughly. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of guys who wouldn’t be completely destroyed in an nba summer league game. Plenty of guys would be made to look silly. But you’re “not sold” that Griner would be.
    Talking about this is as anything but a joke saddens me.

  13. therealgts - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Barbosa or Bogues? Neither of those guys had or have “great” 3 point shooting ability. Bottom line is we won’t see a female in the NBA in our lifetime. The level of competition is not even close. Griner couldn’t play at the D3 level

    • david0303 - Apr 4, 2013 at 7:02 PM

      You gotta be insane to think she wouldn’t tear up men’s D3

      • valeb2012 - Apr 4, 2013 at 7:18 PM

        You obviously haven’t seen D1 girls play against boys.

        The best D1 women’s basketball team would lose to an average city high school team. And I don’t mean by a little. The women’s team would be destroyed.

        I went to a school that had one of the candidates for college women basketball player of the year. She was fantastic. About 6′. She went to the WNBA. Once in our school rec gym, her teammates (the team went to the NCAA women’s tournament) played pickup against a bunch of decent athletes 5-on-5. Forget about the game for a second because that was not even funny. I think they went to 21 by 2s and 3s and the score was like 21-5. This all-American girl matched up against this 5’9″ athletic guy. He could dunk. What’s interesting is not that he could score on her at will; what was interesting was that she could get a shot off against him. Once, she was at the 3pt line and jab stepped and then elevated to shoot the 3pt. This guy jumped and grabbed the ball out of the air. It was so laughable.

      • valeb2012 - Apr 4, 2013 at 7:21 PM

        “She could NOT get a shot off against him.”

      • bigmeechy74 - Apr 5, 2013 at 12:53 PM

        Tear up men’s d3? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHa!!!!!!!!!!! What’s it like being brain dead?

  14. waltrd - Apr 4, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    This is just a marketing stunt by Cuban.

  15. j0esixpack - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    Cuban’s an idiot.

    If he had any credibility he’d give a talented Spud Webb-esque woman an opportunity – that’s a role that a female player might one day actually make a roster.

  16. sasquash20 - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    She has to be tougher then S.Hawes

  17. emosnar - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    (grammar corrected)….Thanks Gene for stating the facts pointedly. No Kurt aka John Tesh they SHOULDN’T do it. So often do simple minded writers and analyst disregard integrity for the sake of, “so what” its marketing.” Just because its marketing and that is ONE of the things the NBA and other sports do, that shouldn’t take precedence over the integrity of MENS PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL. They have a WNBA that is evolving, she can market her skills there. Women cannot plan MENS PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PERIOD. Yes, they can play basketball. Women skills are evolving but so are men and now you have 6’9 power forward-point guards (lebron). Brittney is smart she will stay in her lane. Wish these other writers would. Misguided marketing has destroyed so many careers, products and organizations. This is not about being close minded, its about Mark Cuban saying something dumb and trying to actually back it up and weak writers trying to agree with him. Just state the fact Cuban lost points on this topic. His past success doesn’t make him a genius all the time. GO PACERS!!!!

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