Geno Auriemma, Maya Moore chat up P2
University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma and Maya Moore, his former star player and the No. 1 pick in the recent WNBA draft, stopped by ESPN's Bristol, Conn., campus Tuesday to make the rounds as ESPN launched its new espnW.com initiative, which is dedicated to serve, inform and inspire female athletes and fans.
Content featured on the site aims to:
• shine a spotlight on women's sports, and offer broader coverage;
• provide a unique take and added perspective on the mainstream sports stories;
• offer training information for the active, competitive woman.
Page 2 caught up with Auriemma and Moore for a few minutes to ask a couple of questions:
Page 2: What will the sports landscape be like in 10 to 20 years for women?
Auriemma: "It's probably something no one has thought of yet. In a sense, if you asked an NBA fan in 1971, what would the NBA be like, it's not likely you'd say they'd have 6-foot-8 point guards. Can you really envision that happening? How much bigger can you really get? Things are going to happen in women's sports that we can't even foresee. But I don't believe we're going to see men competing against women. I know people want to see that. Unless it's golf or some aspect of physical fitness that is not an issue, that is never going to be the case."
Moore: "The aspect of guys playing girls is only one aspect of sports. People always talk about the physicality. Why would we want to mix it up? I know people want to see it happen. But we're made differently. The world-class male athletes are always going to have an advantage."
Why do you think people keep talking about men versus women?
Auriemma: "From the beginning, as boys, you have Little League and soccer. Girls compete very well against the boys. That's because the boys haven't grown up yet. As you get to high school, things start to change. High school girls don't have a lot of sports they can relate to. They try out for some boys' teams. When was the last time you saw a boy try out for a girls' team? You know they don't want to get beaten by a girl. As you get to college, women are competing against women at a certain level of excellence. But the chauvinists start to come out. The goal should always be to compete against my peers. But people want to see the battle of the sexes. They don't appreciate the sport on its own merits. Let's take runner Usain Bolt. Can he outrun a defensive back in pro football? Why would you even consider that? He is running against other runners. Maya Moore is the best at what she does. You don't have to do anything to validate her as a player. It's not like she could compete against Dwyane Wade. And why should she?"
Moore: "This is all new territory for me. I know they want to see men versus women for the interest of a particular sport. But you need to be on an even playing field. That's why I like a Danica Patrick. For Danica, she is in a sport where the car is a major factor. She has skills to drive well but she doesn't need to personally be stronger or faster."
Auriemma: "If [IndyCar] had a women's series, then Danica would be an idiot not to compete in that instead of [against] the guys. Annika [Sorenstam] is the great female golfer, possibly the best ever, and she's never going to win on the men's tour hitting from the men's tees. So why are you going to do it? There are avenues where you can have equal footing such as horse racing and racing cars. It's all about the skills, not about the gender."
Lynn Hoppes is senior director for Page 2 and commentary for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org