Caitlin Clark brushes off WNBA star’s race remark, says more ‘opportunities’ will help elevate women’s game

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A number of women’s college basketball players have developed into household names long before they entered the WNBA draft. Caitlin Clark, the former Iowa Hawkeyes star and the current NCAA’s all-time leading scorer, is among the most well known. 

Fans have showed up and tuned in to see Clark even before she was selected first overall by the Indiana Fever in last month’s WNBA Draft. Her rise in stardom has undoubtedly contributed to the increased focus on women’s basketball. 

Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Indiana Fever, controls the ball, defended by DiJonai Carrington, #21 of the Connecticut Sun, during the third quarter of the game at Mohegan Sun Arena on May 14, 2024 in Uncasville, Connecticut. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Clark believes that is a good thing, regardless of who is in the spotlight. 

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“I think there’s opportunities for every single player in women’s basketball,” Clark said at a press conference before her WNBA debut on Tuesday night. “I think the more opportunities we can give across the board, that’s what’s going to elevate women’s basketball.”

Her remarks were in response to a question about Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson, who recently told The Associated Press that she believes there is a race element tied into Clark’s popularity. 

“I think it’s a huge thing. I think a lot of people may say it’s not about Black and White, but to me, it is,” Wilson told the AP over the weekend. 

A'ja Wilson holds MVP trophy

A’ja Wilson, #22 of the Las Vegas Aces, celebrates with the MVP trophy after defeating the New York Liberty during Game Four of the 2023 WNBA Finals at Barclays Center on Oct. 18, 2023 in New York City. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

CONNECTICUT SUN ROUT INDIANA FEVER TO SPOIL CAITLIN CLARK’S WNBA DEBUT

“It really is because you can be top-notch at what you are as a Black woman, but yet maybe that’s something that people don’t want to see,” Wilson continued. “They don’t see it as marketable, so it doesn’t matter how hard I work. It doesn’t matter what we all do as Black women, we’re still going to be swept underneath the rug. That’s why it boils my blood when people say it’s not about race because it is.”

However, having all eyes on the WNBA is bigger than Clark herself. 

“It doesn’t need to be just one or two players, and I think that even goes back to college. The parity in women’s basketball is what’s making more people want to come watch it. I think the more we can spread the love, show people, show their talent, show their teams – that’s just going to continue to elevate it,” Clark said Tuesday. 

Caitlin Clark drives towards the net

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark, #22, drives past Connecticut Sun guard DiJonai Carrington, #21, during a WNBA game between Indiana Fever and Connecticut Sun on May 14, 2024 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. (M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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“I think that’s the biggest thing. I’ve had a lot of fun being in the spotlight and helping grow this game and move it forward, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do. But I think I know firsthand how talented this league is, whether it was me as a young kid or whether it’s me now playing here… the more we can share the love, the better this league’s going to be.”

The Fever lost its season opener to the Connecticut Sun, 92-71, on Tuesday night. Before her first professional sell-out crowd, Clark dropped 20 points but had 10 turnovers in a game where the Sun forced 25 total. 

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