When comparing a basketball player with another, usually those comparisons fall in line with race.
An African-American player is normally compared to another African-American player. Caucasian players will be compared to other Caucasian players: Dirk Nowitzki wasn’t compared to Larry Bird because of his outside shooting, it was about his range as it was because he’s white and has bad hair.
But what about a Caucasian women being compared to a African-American male player?
Watching UConn’s Breanna Stewart play, she breaks the mold as far as comparisons to another women’s player, Black or White.
Stewart is a mobile 6-4 dynamo with long arms that can attacks the basket as easy as she shoot over players with a high release. She can jump. She can dribble. She can rebound (leads her team). She hits threes, dunks with relative ease and blocks nearly three shots per game.
She’s a winner and plays for UConn, so the comparisons to Maya Moore and Rebecca Lobo come up, but outside of a couple overlaps in skill, they’re different players. The ease in which she scores brings up Diana Taurasi, but plays a different position.
Her closest comparison may be Chamique Holdsclaw, but Stewart’s ability and skill set outshines even that of the legendary Holdsclaw.
When it comes to finding a comparison to Breanna Stewarts, there just isn’t a sufficient comparison to another women’s player.
For example, in today’s regional semi-final against Texas, Stewart tallied 31 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and blocked a couple shots. UConn killed Texas by 51 points, 105-54.
I watched Stewart as she raised over the defense for smooth jumpers and nail threes. She pulled down defensive boards, crossed over smaller players and crashed the offensive boards; leaving the opposing centers on the ground. She drove the baseline and slapped the glass as she finished with a layup. And she did this with such ease.
For me? When I watch Stewart dominate as she did against Texas, she reminds me of a player that played for Texas — Kevin Durant. She may not lead the NCAA in scoring or rebounding, but with her height, length, and ease in which she can dominate a game reminds me of Durant.
Both use their combination of athleticism, height, and length to get their shot off on any player. When Durant and Stewart are up over their defenders, they release their shot with a soft touch. They’re unstoppable and they know it, but it’s a quiet, calm, I-don’t-need-to-prove-anything-to-anyone air.
With that same combination of bounce and size, both players utilize every inch on the defensive side too; rebounding, defending and blocking shots.
Yes, there are obvious aesthetic differences between Kevin Durant and Breanna Stewart, but watch both players sometime. You’ll see that despite those immediate physical differences, the way Durant and Stewart dominate their peers have a lot in common.