Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made headlines this week by saying he’d be willing to draft Brittney Griner on his team. Griner responded through Twitter, saying she would love to try out for the team. Could one of the most celebrated female college basketball players become the NBA’s first female player? Here’s what you need to know about Brittney Griner.
1. Brittney Gave Her Answer on Twitter
It seemed pretty clear that Brittney is up for the idea of trying out for the NBA. After Mark Cuban said that there was a spot open for Brittney to try out for his team, Brittney went on Twitter and gave a surprising response saying, “So when do I show up for try-outs!!!”
2. Griner Would be the First Woman Drafted on the NBA
If all goes well for Brittney and gets drafted, she would be the first woman ever to be drafted onto an NBA team. While it would be a huge accomplishment for women in sports, it would have a detrimental impact on the WNBA. Women’s basketball and the WNBA might feel slighted though, and Griner’s defection to the NBA (it’s been assumed for the past year that she would enter the WNBA draft) could hurt the credibility of the WNBA. It would also hurt the WNBA in terms of ticket sales as well. Griner’s hugely popular and could be the spark to reignite the popularity of the WNBA.
3. She Shined for Baylor University
Brittney Griner is currently playing for her college team at Baylor University as a center for the Baylor Lady Bears. The 6’8″ center has made a big impact on her team since joining back in 2009. As a freshman, she set an all-time season record of 223 blocked shots, making her one of the greatest shot blockers in women’s basketball history. Just this past weekend, in her final season playing for the Lady Bears, Griner and the Lady Bears lost in the Elite Eight of the 2013 NCAA Women’s Tournament, losing 82-81 to a Louisville squad that managed to stop one of the most dominating female basketball players ever.
4. Griner is the All-Time Leader in Blocked Shots and Second-Leading Scorer
While starring for the Baylor Lady Bears, Griner developed into a one of the biggest female sports stars in the world and has become a household name. The New York Times noted that Griner has a career total score of 3,203 points and has blocked 736 shots, a NCAA record for both men and women.
5. She Was Named #1 on Nation’s Roster By Rivals.com
Brittney Griner also left her mark in high school, where she was named the nation’s number one high school basketball player by Rivals.com. She was also on the cover of ESPN’s Rise Magazine after being selected with as the number one recruit in all of women’s high school basketball.
6. She Was 2012’s AP Player of the Year
In Griner’s celebrated career, the young athlete has won a plethora of awards. Undoubtably, the two of the most prestigious awards she won was being named AP Play of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA 2012 Women’s Tournament. In the Tournament, Griner was the driving force for the Baylor Lady Bears, leading them to their second D-1 championship.
7. Brittney Didn’t Compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics
Besides playing collegiate ball, Brittney also spent two weeks on the US National Team in Europe, and was the only college player in the group. She was given the opportunity to play at the 2012 London Olympics but declined due to her mother’s health and her hectic summer school schedule. The US Women’s team still managed to win the gold medel in London without Griner. She said, “It’s a great team, basically all my role models are on that team. It was just amazing knowing that I was with them for a little bit overseas. … Just to see them out there playing hard, playing strong, and bringing the gold home, it was good.”
8. She Also Played Volleyball in High School
Basketball wasn’t the only sport that Brittney participated in while she attended Nimitz High School in Irving, Texas. She was also a skilled volleyball player when she played on the varsity squad. Brittney would certainly be able to apply her basketball blocking skills in volleyball, whether its spiking a point or blocking a shot.
9. Griner Has Her Own Day in Houston
Brittney has quite a reputation in her hometown of Houston. Bill White, the mayor of Houston, even declared May 7, 2009 as “Brittney Griner Day” after she set a single-game record of seven dunks against Aldine High School.
10. She Wouldn’t Be the First Woman to Try Out for the NBA
If Brittney tries out for a spot on the Dallas Mavericks, it wouldn’t be the first time that a woman attempted to join a NBA team. Back in 1979, Ann Meyers-Drysdale, a former UCLA and US Olympic team star, signed to play for the Indiana Pacers but wasn’t able to make the roster.