Swin Cash: Brittney Griner shouldn’t have to ‘prove herself’ against men

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Editor’s note: Swin Cash is a forward for the WNBA’s Chicago Sky. Cash is a three-time WNBA Champion, five-time All-Star and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. She also starred at the University of Connecticut, where she helped lead the Lady Huskies to two NCAA championships in 2000 and 2002.  Below is an op-ed Cash exclusively provided to theGrio.com for publication.

Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban caused a stir when he announced he would consider selecting Baylor’s Brittney Griner in the second round of the NBA draft. To her credit, Brittney responded via Twitter, “I would hold my own! Let’s do it.”

In my opinion, if a woman makes a choice to play with the guys, it’s her choice. Brittney has had an amazing college career and her stats rival many of the men’s. Her career mark of 748 blocks while at Baylor is the most in women’s and men’s college basketball history! She dominated on the court and I have no doubt she will carry this through to the next level.

Of course Brittney would still have to prove herself like any other potential NBA player – training hard and demonstrating skills on the court before making a team. But if she ultimately played in the NBA, this does not mean she has “arrived” or if she didn’t, she failed in some way. You arrive when you beat the best in the world on the biggest stage in the world.

An unnecessary standard 

Brittney is already a legend in her own right and her playing time at Baylor has set the bar extremely high for future college players.

It seems that only in basketball, people feel women need to validate themselves by playing against the guys. No one is screaming for ladies to join the men in track, soccer or tennis to prove they are worthy. So why basketball? I think it’s unfortunate that so many people are focusing now on what Brittney can’t do rather than celebrating what she has accomplished and could potentially go on to do. She shouldn’t have to beat out other NBA players to be seen for what she is – an amazing athlete.

The NBA would offer tremendous endorsement and marketing potential for Brittney. These opportunities don’t come to everyone so why not take advantage if it’s the right choice for you personally? Life is all about choices – your choices – and if something feels right for you, then you should do it.

Brittney is an awesome player and person, and I think if anyone could stand up to the criticism and pessimists, she can. If Mark Cuban and the NBA are willing to give her a shot, I say go for it!

Follow Swin Cash on Twitter @SwinCash or check out her Facebook page. Her book ‘Humble Journey: More Precious Than Gold’ is available on Amazon.com.