WACO, TEXAS—Students and reporters mobbed Ferrell Center for the press conference where Baylor women’s basketball star Brittney Griner declared for the NBA Draft.
The 6-foot-8 center for the Lady Bears has taken the college basketball world by storm with her defensive prowess…and her ability to dunk a basketball with more ease and authority than any other player in the history of the women’s game. Griner’s decision to enter the NBA Draft will add yet another spectacular chapter to the young woman’s career.
“I believe I can play at the highest level with any player, male or female, so I appreciate the support that people have been giving me as I take this step,” Griner said to the temporarily tame crowd of Lady Bear fans and reporters. “I want to take my game into the men’s league because basketball is my life. It’s not a summer job; it’s a career.”
Many reporters laughed at Griner’s apparent dig at the WNBA, which has a season schedule that only runs from mid-May to early September. None of the writers on hand bothered to question Griner’s eligibility because, technically, the current eligibility rules focus on age and experience requirements and say nothing about gender. And by NBA standards, Griner’s two years as a Lady Bear make her qualified to play professionally.
The only point during the conference at which tensions ran high, however, was when infamous sports blogger Johnny Heider alluded that Griner’s declaration to join the NBA was an admission that she was, in fact, a man. After growing tired with the barrage of incendiary and leading questions from Belcken (including an instance where he [un]intentionally called her ‘Brian’), Griner rose from her chair, left the stage, walked over to Belcken and punched him in the face, knocking him out cold. Fans cheered and reporters looked on in shock, but the entire crowd erupted into laughter when Griner raised her arms and said, “It’s Brittney, bitch!” leaving the arena with fans and reporters trailing behind her.
The only person on Baylor’s campus who probably felt worse than Belcken after Griner’s press conference is Ekpe Udoh, the star power forward of the Baylor men’s team who declared for the NBA Draft a week ago to a much smaller, less interested, group of reporters.