Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

NBA Legend Reveals Why He’s ‘Rooting for’ Caitlin Clark

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark

LeBron James continues to come to the defense of Caitlin Clark, appearing on his and friend JJ Redick’s Mind the Game podcast to give an impassioned speech about the heralded rookie.

“The one thing that I love that she’s bringing to (women’s basketball), more people want to watch,” James says. “More people want to tune in.”

“Don’t get it twisted,” he continues. “Caitlin Clark is the reason why a lot of great things is gonna happen for the WNBA. But for her individually, I don’t think she should get involved in nothing that’s being said. Just go, have fun, enjoy.”

LeBron James Reveals Why He’s ‘Rooting for’ Caitlin Clark

The first overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, Clark has entered the league with more fanfare than anyone. In anticipation of her arrival, WNBA teams were trying to find venues with a larger crowd capacity. Before she played a single game, she had a signature shoe deal.

However, while Clark’s critical acclaim has led to celebrity status, she’s also faced an extraordinary amount of criticism. For most, it’s because of a fan-made rivalry between her and former LSU forward Angel Reese (drafted seventh overall by the Chicago Sky). For some, it’s because Clark’s a media darling, receiving more attention for her play than any other player.

Then there are those who dislike Clark because they believe the attention and accommodations women’s basketball players are now receiving are long overdue. This group isn’t unreasonable to believe that women’s basketball is underfunded (at any level). Nor are they wrong to say that amenities such as chartered flights should have existed before Clark was drafted.

However, in all the fuss, it seems to be lost upon basketball fans that Clark didn’t ask for the media to focus on her coverage. The fact that Clark’s star power is a good thing, that it leading to the very attention, support, and luxuries that they’ve long been asking for is a positive outcome, eludes them as well.

‘I’ve Walked That Road Before’

“…I’m rooting for Caitlin because I’ve been in that seat before.”

When James was preparing to get drafted, he was already being compared to Michael Jordan. While there are many fans who were excited about the possibility. Indeed, a new generation of basketball fans came along with James. Yet, diehard Jordan fans took it as an excuse to create a rivalry. To this day, the mere mention of James might lead to a —let’s say spirited —debate about who’s better.

A few years into his career, James began taking his destiny into his own hands, wielding his influence in a way that gave him power comparable to front office executives. A lot of people didn’t like it, including current and former players.

Yet, ever since James trailblazed the ‘player empowerment era,’ the league has been better off for it. Players aren’t treating their basketball contracts like marriage vows anymore, looking at their careers like people in any other field. The league has made more money than ever because of the media deals. However, the media deals became richer because the Superteam Era was intense.

James and Clark’s stories aren’t an exact parallel, but when he says “I’ve walked that road before,” he means it.


More Posts