ESPN.com: Big Girls Need Love Too

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Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 23, 2007

By LZ Granderson
ESPN.com Page 2

It seems everyone is either talking to Kevin Durant or getting fined for talking about him.

Is he going to the NBA?

What kind of shoes is he going to wear?

Would you take him over Oden?

No doubt, the kid is special.

But if you really comb through the Big 12 Conference, you will find a sophomore who actually had a better season than Jesus Shuttlesworth 2007. That player finished in the top five in the nation in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots while shooting 57 percent from the field.

That player has 60 consecutive double-doubles and is nicknamed "Baby Shaq."

No doubt Courtney Paris is special.

If the Oklahoma star were to declare for the draft, she'd go No. 1. But the WNBA doesn't allow for early entry -- not that Paris would leave school for the pros ahead of schedule anyway. Unlike Durant, Paris doesn't have the seduction of fame and fortune waiting for her after college. At least not to play ball. The WNBA doesn't generate the same kind of revenue as the NBA, and more importantly, its athletes don't have that level of respect. It may not be politically correct to say, but since the average sports fan can only name the "hot chicks," I don't think I'm going that far out on a limb.

At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, you will not see Courtney Paris gracing too many magazine covers. Not because she's undeserving -- obviously she is -- but because she's not "cover girl material." Paris is pretty. But she's also big. Not just tall -- but big. And she's strong and athletic and confident, and she and others like her make a lot of people feel uncomfortable. Particularly men. Consequently magazines, including the one I write for, will always hesitate to put her on the cover even during the height of basketball season despite the fact she's the best college basketball player in the country.

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