Publicity stunt or serious claim? Cuban open to drafting first female into NBA.
Speaking ahead of the Dallas Mavericks’ game against the Los Angeles Lakers, owner Mark Cuban revealed that he would be open to drafting Baylor’s Brittney Griner.
Griner is a 6’8″ three-time First Team All-American, 2012 AP Player of the Year, three-time Big 12 Player of the Year and four-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, and clearly boasts one of the most impressive college careers of any basketball player.
Despite being strong, incredibly fast and very effective in the post, Cuban’s comments have sparked a debate over whether she could really compete in the NBA.
The Mavs owner has a history of controversial and publicity-seeking comments, but judging from his latest idea he seems pretty serious about this latest move.
“If she is the best on the board, I will take her,” he said as reported by ESPN.
“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,” he added.
Griner scored 3,283 points and blocked 748 shots in her college career, and will now face a difficult decision over whether to try her luck with the Mavericks should they pick her or continue her path with her rookie season in the WNBA next season.
She would be the second woman to try out for an NBA team, and appeared to be open to Cuban’s offer on Twitter by stating: “I would hold my own! Let’s do it.”
It certainly seems as though Cuban is serious of offering her a chance, and could invite her to participate in this year’s Summer League in Vegas to test her.
“She’d still have to make the team. I’m not going to carry her just to carry her. I don’t think, anyways. But I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to giving her the opportunity.”
When asked about the significant marketing potential such a move would have for his franchise, Cuban acknowledges the financial benefits too.
“It would, wouldn’t it? See how she could do? That’d sell out a few games,” he concluded.
There are no rules in the NBA to forbid a female player joining the league, but questions marks would remain over her ability to take on those of the opposite sex. Her statistics are undoubtedly impressive, and the fact an NBA team is exploring the possibility of breaking the gender barrier is one that will dominate the debate boards.
Watch highlights of Griner dropping 50 points against Kansas State last month: