Yesterday, Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks (and a brilliant guy), suggested that his team might draft her in the second round to give her a chance to make the NBA. Today, Gino Auriemma, the coach of Connecticut's perenially-great women's basketball team, had this to say:
Auriemma said Wednesday that Cuban is a financial genius, but "his genius would take a huge hit if he drafted Brittney Griner.
"I think it would be a sham," he said. "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."I like Cuban, but Auriemma is obviously right. Griner is a great player, maybe the greatest woman player ever when all is said and done, but she not only could not make an NBA team, she wouldn't be recruited to be the 12th player on the bench of any of the 200+ Division 1 NCAA men's programs. She's big enough, but she can't jump with NCAA men's players, can't run with them, can't out-muscle them, isn't as quick or (sorry to have to say) as skilled.
In a related story from the Marine Corps Times, here's a report from the front lines of the military's transition to women in combat roles. It's not hopeful:
The women failed the introductory Combat Endurance Test, a punishing test of physical strength and endurance, officials at Marine Corps headquarters said Tuesday. The latest class began March 28 at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., with 110 lieutenants participating. Ninety-six men passed the initial endurance test. Twelve men and two women — the only female Marines taking part — failed.Again, these may be tremendous female Marines who may also be tremendously fit... for women. But they lack the endurance and strength to pass the introductory fitness test for combat training. And, remember, these are officers, lieutenants, who would be platoon leaders in combat. They would be expected to be leaders of the men in their platoons. How could they do that if all of the men are stronger than they are, as they would be?
Pretending that women are physically capable of playing in the NBA doesn't hurt anyone, and maybe it's good publicity for Cuban's Mavericks. But pretending that women are physically capable, except in extraordinary circumstances, of qualifying for infantry combat leadership positions might just hurt people.