Los Angeles Lakers

Lisa Leslie Thinks She Could Have Played In the NBA

BEIJING - AUGUST 23:  Lisa Leslie #9 of the United States reacts while taking on Australia during the women's basketball gold medal game at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium on Day 15 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 23, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Bare KnucksAnalyst IAugust 31, 2009
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In a May 10th mother’s day interview on ESPN, Lisa Leslie said she could’ve played in the NBA. I was shocked and appalled. Twenty minutes later, I realize, “Did you see Lisa Leslie say she could’ve played in the NBA?” I think it is absurd. For Lisa Leslie to make a statement like that is outrageous. No woman could play in the NBA. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best player in the WNBA. So, I’ll break down why Lisa Leslie was way out of line saying that.

Let’s picture for a moment that a young Leslie is on the court with the guys. She’s apparently 6 foot 5, 170 pounds, according to everywhere I’ve looked. She’s played center in the WNBA, and towered over some of the other women. A 6 foot 5, 170 pound NBA player would be an extremely slight and weak shooting guard. On defense, she would be exploited defensively every single trip down the court. They would get the ball to the guy who she’s guarding. This guy would have a number of options to make Leslie look silly. He could simply cross her over and explode to the rim off the dribble, being a lot quicker than her. She’d be left in his dust. No question about it. Either that or she’d have no choice but to foul him. Or, he could take Leslie into the post, use his 50-60 extra pounds of muscle, and just back her down until he was right next to the basket. She would not be able to stop this. There’s no way.

It would be like asking Manute Bol to try to stop Shaquille O’Neal in the post. Impossible. If the guy wanted a little more of a challenge, toying with her, he would simply raise up from the perimeter, and drain a jumper in her mug. She wouldn’t be able to jump as high as him, and probably wouldn’t get a hand in his face. It would be an uncontested jump shot. Leslie would have to pray that the guy settled for the jumper. That would be her only shot of getting an individual stop. Men have trouble stopping other men. Who honestly thinks a woman could stop Dwyane Wade or Kobe Bryant from getting to the rim? Oh, that’s right. Lisa does.


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