I am all for shameless, aimless promotion in professional sports. But I must hold up an assertive stop sign when it comes to the idea of the Mavericks offering Brittney Griner the chance to play in the NBA.
Listen, Griner may be women's basketball's version of Lew Alcindor. But the idea stinks on many levels, sort of like the Mavericks do this season.
Just the suggestion Griner could or so should play in the NBA brings up the delicate gender issue this young woman has had to deal with her entire playing career. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban should know better.
And anyway, Louisville proved Griner may not even be physically and mentally prepared to play in the WNBA.
To even be considered for the final bench spot with the Mavericks, Brittney Griner would have to play well in the Las Vegas summer league. Then she would need to beat out several players who had successful college careers — at the Division I men's level.
As David Brent from "The Office" would say, "Good luck to you."
Griner is a fabulous player who should have a fine career in the WNBA. But she does not possess the physical gifts that make NBA players such a special group. She would be neither a rebounding nor a shot-blocking force on basketball's biggest stage, making her presence there little more than a publicity stunt.
Griner, and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, should know better.
Mark Cuban never is above headlines. That can be the only explanation for Cuban saying he would use a second-round pick on 6-foot-8 Baylor star Brittney Griner. This is a common sense statement, not a sexist one: Griner will not be drafted by any other team. So why burn a second-round pick on her?
The new collective bargaining agreement makes hitting on cheap talent that plays on rookie contracts critical. So why not use the second-round pick on an established men's player and then invite Griner to the summer-league team to see if she can stick? Burning a second-round pick on her is just Cuban drawing more attention to himself, which often is a fun and positive thing for the NBA. I don't see how this time.
Sadly, when Mark Cuban opens his mouth, we in the media have to react. In this case, Cuban is just flat-out wrong. I'm not even sure if Cuban believes Griner can play in the NBA. He just knows making a statement as such will draw attention.
And we continue to fall for it.
It's an insult to even subject Griner to this debate. She's a great, great women's college basketball player. Let's just leave it at that instead of wondering how she would stack up against her male counterparts.
She has revolutionized the women's game. Isn't that enough of an achievement?