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Phoenix Mercury

Updated May 10, 2013 - 6:03 pm

Mercury: Taurasi tells Griner ‘just to enjoy' the spotlight

If there is one player who can relate to the attention thrust upon Brittney Griner, it's her teammate, Diana Taurasi.

Like Griner, Taurasi was a two-time national player of the year coming out of college.

Like Griner, Taurasi was the WNBA No. 1 overall pick.

The one difference: the size of the spotlight.

"(Hers) is a lot taller," the 6-foot-tall Taurasi joked.

Griner, 6-foot-8, has been the center of attention for several months now. It's not unlike what Taurasi experienced in 2004 after leading Connecticut to three consecutive NCAA championships.

"I don't like it one bit," said a smiling Taurasi about sharing the spotlight.

"No, it's time," she continued. "Ten years ago it was me. Five years ago it was Candace Parker. Every year there's new players, younger, better. I think she couldn't have come to a better place where we won championships. Hopefully, with the veterans we have, we can hopefully give her some advice and to get where she wants to go."

What advice would Taurasi give Griner in dealing with all the attention?

"Just to enjoy it," Taurasi said at Mercury media day Friday. "You really just have to enjoy every moment because there will be times where it gets overwhelming.

"I think she's done a great job of being who she is no matter what," she added. "I think that tells a lot about her character, about the way she was brought up and it translates over to the basketball court, where we are going to be who we are. I think that's going to be a good feeling this year."

To her credit, Griner has not once shied away or begged off an interview. Whatever has come her way, especially off the court, she's tackled with poise and a smile.

However, if needed, she knows she has the support of a teammate she only just met.

"Feel like I can go to her," Griner said of Taurasi. "She knows what it takes. I'm ready to be that sponge, absorb up everything and just learn from her."

There is one thing Taurasi learned nine years earlier from her experience as a rookie.

"If I learned anything from (former teammate) Nikki McCray, (Griner) will be buying me lunch every day."

Then after pausing, Taurasi said, "I don't think I'll go that route; maybe a couple of dinners here and there."

That was news to Griner.

"What? Really? That's not against the rules," she asked.

Griner did offer up one suggestion, "Sure, we can go to McDonald's."

About the Author

School: Syracuse University, '96

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: December 1, 1999

Favorite sports memory: Game 7, 2001 World Series

Least-favorite sports memory: Game 1, 1988 World Series

Favorite all-time athlete(s): Larry Bird, Don Mattingly

Favorite sports movies: Hoosiers, Field of Dreams


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