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April 2, 2013

Griner’s giant legacy

NORMAN — Brittney Griner’s unparalleled college career is over, earlier than expected and without another NCAA championship. Her place among the all-time best is secure.

From her powerful blocked shots to highlight-reel dunks, Griner’s dominance on both ends of the court was simply unequaled as she drew in new fans to the women’s game. They include LeBron James, who said he met her when she was a senior in high school in Houston and has been keeping tabs on Griner ever since.

“She’s awesome. It’s not fair. It’s like Wilt (Chamberlain),” James said. “She’s out there like Wilt. That’s what would be my imagination, if I was able to see Wilt live and what he was doing to those guys back in the day, that’s what she’s doing to these girls right now. She’s too big. She’s too strong.”

James said he would have loved to see Griner play against Lisa Leslie in her prime.

Griner was floored when told of the praise by her idol.

“Definitely happy for the ‘King’ to say that about me,” she said. “Him being one of my favorite players, for him to compare me to Wilt and Lisa, it’s humbling.”

Griner had one up on Chamberlain as she did win a national championship. She just couldn’t get a second one as the Lady Bears lost to Louisville 82-81 on Sunday night in one of the greatest upsets in women’s NCAA tournament history.

Winning only one title might be the only knock on Griner. Still, many think she belongs on the Mount Rushmore of women’s college basketball with fellow stars like Diana Taurasi, who won three titles at Connecticut. The two will almost surely be teammates in the WNBA since Phoenix has the first pick in the draft in two weeks.

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