Mar 26, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears center Brittney Griner (42) celebrates the victory against the Florida State Seminoles during the second round of the 2013 NCAA womens basketball tournament at the Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Brittney Griner to the NBA? It Would Only Makes Sense

Well known American entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, is back in the news again. When he’s not on set filming episodes of Shark Tank and not watching his Mavs lose everyday, the business owner is causing a stir in the media. Cuban recently spoke out to several media outlets, such as the ESPN and gave his two-cents about Baylor Lady Bears, Brittney Griner, going as far as saying he’s considered drafting her.

“If she is the best on the board, I will take her,” Cuban said before the Mavs’ Tuesday night game against the Los Angeles Lakers. “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.”

The 6 foot 8 inch center heard about Cuban’s remarks and actually took it with enthusiasm and glee, responding on Twitter.

When Twitter erupted with this news, critics and fans alike responded differently. You had those groups of people making a mockery of the whole situation, joking about it and then you have those just like me open to the whole thing, seeing it as a great opportunity for not only sports in general, but for women and men’s sports altogether.

I believe the whole situation would be good for various reasons. I’ll break them down individually. First, you have the marketing potential. Second, you have the long-term impact this may have not just on the NBA, but on people’s lives. Third, with north america in the 21st century and individuals becoming more open-minded, some calling for equal rights opportunities, equal employment opportunities, and even civil/marriage equality, Griner may potentially pave the path for future generations, a thing that could prove to be historic if she does make the team after training camp/try outs.

First marketing potential. While the NBA is about the sport of basketball itself (hence national basketball league), it is also an entertainment industry. People, fans and even those pesky critics, attend games to watch their favorite or most hated athletes square off against another team. Everywhere stadiums across the nation are filled with people buying tickets and merchandise to cheer on or boo teams. It generate billions of dollars and I truthfully am one of those people who spends all my money on attending games.

Mar 24, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears center Brittney Griner (42) looks to pass over Prairie View A

All this considered, people like to see something new. Something refreshing, out of the ordinary and sometimes, unorthodox.

What else could be more compelling and perhaps sell many tickets to a sold out crowd, than a women competing in a men’s dominated sport. An example could be the Las Vegas Summer League, where many recently drafted rookies compete on the biggest stage of their life (at the time) and go head to head against fellow draftees.

Imagine this scenario. You have Nerlen Noels, the former Kentucky Wildcat, whose season was unfortunatly cut short, going up against arguably the best center in women’s college basketball. Imagine the uproar, the astonishment, the crowd all in awe watching this happen right before their eyes. And in Cuban’s case, imagine the revenue he’ll receive. It’ll be a matchup to go down in the history books.

Second, the potential impact this can have for the future.

If Griner did perhaps become a player in the league, successfully completing all training camp exercises with no hesitation, and playing side by side Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter and other greats, this would open the door for future generations.

Think about how many young girls would see Griner playing with notable star athletes, sharing the same stage as men. Every girl would want to be like that.

The WNBA, unlike the NBA, doesn’t make as much revenue obviously, and the average salary for a professional female basketball athlete is around the hundred thousands. The men however make not thousands, but millions. Way more money than the women.

This would also send a positive message to young women. Griner could go to communities, talk to other female basketball enthusiast telling them anything is indeed possible and that just because you’re a different gender, it doesn’t have to hold you back from what you truly want to accomplish. Your dreams can come true.

When people think of women, they think of beautiful, tender, sweet caregivers. Men however are portrayed to be macho, muscular individuals who always bring home the bacon. I know I’m sounding like a feminist, but why can’t females bring home the bacon? For many years, women have been fighting for fair wages and equal pay as men for years. While it is happening in the world, most of it is going unnoticed. A way it could go noticed is if you have someone as a prominent female star athlete making the same wage as a male superstar athlete.

Mar 3, 2013; Florham Park, NJ, USA; Lauren Silberman walks off at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center after her second kickoff during kicker tryouts. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This would also break down the walls of stereotypes.

One example of an individual, although not necessarily in the field of basketball, is Lauren Silberman. Silberman made headlines a couple of months ago when she decided to become the first female ever to try out for the NFL Combine. People again made jokes about it, while others supported her. Nonetheless, this caused controversy as sports are indeed sexist unfortunately.

While Silberman did try out giving it her all, her draft combine performance was cut short as she faced an injury. Although she didn’t finish the combine, I applaud Siberman for her hard work and effort.

She tried something new and thats all everyone could ask for. Women like Silberman tried paving the way for new concepts and opportunities. It would have been amazing if Silberman completed the combine and actually made it on an NFL team.

You even have women competing in mixed martial arts (MMA) such as Jessica Aguilar, Shayna Baszler, Amanda Lucas, Meisha Tate, Ronda Rousey and Gina Carano to name a few, although fighting against other women, trying something new. Feminizing a male dominate sport.

Back to Griner now and like I said, imagine if she made a team. The world would erupt. Twitter, Facebook and all sorts of social media platforms would be buzzing not only for days, but for years to come.

Which brings me to my last point. Equal rights for all. People like myself are open-minded. Open minded to civil rights, employment, gender, and even marriage equality.

The 21st century isn’t like the stone age anymore. We’re becoming more accepting of people for who they are.

Women don’t have to be housewives anymore and are actually perceived as strong women if they can hold down jobs, while men are now able to show emotion, their sensitive side without being ridiculed.

I understand however that there are people who aren’t as liberal.

As open-minded as some may be, they are some who still believe in conservative ideologies and despise this new forthcoming change. Change is key, and we must adapt to new concepts. Why can’t one concept be female stars playing against male stars?

Not only would it change the present, but imagine the long-term effect it would have on future generations. 10, 50 even 100 years from now, when they finally make floating cars (yes I’m still waiting for that day), people would see this as an example and implement it on their systems, not only in games but in everything. Women as construction workers, mechanics, even as political leaders at the helm of a nation.

Though it is a fantastic idea, this doesn’t come without a consequence.

Imagine what would happen with the WNBA. That league is already struggling trying to compete with the NBA. They even have sponsors showcasing their brand on jerseys. Imagine what would happen if every female tried to aspire to join the NBA.

Mar 11, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Baylor Bears center Brittney Griner (42) reacts on the bench during the Big 12 Championship game against Iowa State Cyclones at American Airlines Center. Baylor won 75-47. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The current WNBA viewers would stop watching and start focusing on the NBA causing the WNBA to lose viewership. Ratings would plummet since nobody is watching, and females would have to unfortunately look for other employment opportunities not only in Europe but in China and across the globe. They could also try to join the NBA but that would cause a problem.

The NBA is already a competitive industry as is. You have your veteran players holding down their jobs competing against top athletes. You also have young guys entering the league trying to get a spot on a roster. Imagine what would happen if women tried to also compete for a job in the NBA. It would become even more of a dog-eat-dog world. More than ever before.

Connecticut women’s basketball head coach, Geno Auriemma was not happy with Cuban’s remarks, giving his two cents to USA Today, saying, 

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 does have a point. Physically, a woman’s body isn’t developed as a man’s. Men could take more damage and as we know the NBA is a lot more physical than the WNBA.

All things considered, it’s unfortunate but the reality is that Griner would never make it in the NBA. The WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury have the rights to the first pick in this month’s WNBA draft with Griner as the consensus number one draft pick. The WNBA has rights to that pick and the NBA draft won’t happen until the end of June. Though Cuban would have a significant amount of cap space to use during this off-season, its highly unlikely he’ll start a bidding war with the WNBA just to sell tickets.

Griner in the NBA won’t in fact happen. It’s unfortunate but it’s the truth. She does however have the potential to have tremendous impact in the WNBA though, as a franchise changing, league-dominating star athlete.

Tags: 2013 NBA Draft Baylor Baylor Bears Brittney Griner Connecticut Huskies Dallas Mavericks Female MMA Geno Auriemma Lauren Silberman Mark Cuban MMA NBA NFL NFL Combine Ronda Rousey USA Women's Soccer WNBA Women's Basketball Women's MMA

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