Caitlin Clark’s race ‘big factor’ in terms of her recognition, WNBA star says

Caitlin Clark’s race ‘big factor’ in terms of her recognition, WNBA star says

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Las Vegas Aces heart A’ja Wilson is a five-time All-Star and is hoping to guide her workforce to a 3rd consecutive WNBA championship this season.

Nonetheless, the Aces’ quest for a three-peat could also be flying underneath the radar due to the incoming rookie class headlined by the Indiana Fever’s Caitlin Clark. The previous Iowa star set all-time information for scoring throughout her senior season and led her college to back-to-back nationwide championship appearances.


Las Vegas Aces heart A’ja Wilson, #22, speaks throughout the workforce’s media day on Could 3, 2024 in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Evaluate-Journal/Tribune Information Service by way of Getty Pictures)

Even with the accolades on her resume, the narrative round Clark has changed into research and media critiques about why she is in style as a substitute of her recreation lifting up girls’s basketball.

Wilson, in an interview with The Related Press, agreed there was a race aspect to the sharpshooter’s recognition. 

“I believe it’s an enormous factor. I believe lots of people could say it’s not about Black and White, however to me, it’s,” Wilson mentioned. “It truly is since you will be top-notch at what you might be as a Black girl, however but perhaps that’s one thing that individuals don’t wish to see.

“They don’t see it as marketable, so it doesn’t matter how exhausting I work. It doesn’t matter what all of us do as Black girls, we’re nonetheless going to be swept beneath the rug. That’s why it boils my blood when folks say it’s not about race as a result of it’s.”


A'ja Wilson at USA camp

A’ja Wilson, #9, seems to be on throughout the USA Basketball Girls’s Nationwide Crew Coaching Camp at Cleveland Clinic Courts on April 3, 2024 in Independence, Ohio. (Mike Lawrie/Getty Pictures)

Clark’s endorsement cope with Nike after the WNBA Draft sparked questions on why she acquired one with no skilled expertise and Wilson didn’t get one regardless of gamers like Breanna Stewart and Elena Della Donne receiving a deal.

Nike introduced Saturday she was getting a signature shoe. Wilson additionally signed an endorsement cope with Gatorade. Wilson made the feedback to the AP earlier than the offers have been introduced.

Clark completed her collegiate profession because the Division 1 all-time main scorer with 3,951 factors. She additionally gained the Picket Award, Naismith Award and Girls’s AP Participant of the Yr Award in back-to-back years.

When it got here to endorsement offers, Clark had one thing Wilson didn’t popping out of faculty – a relationship with high corporations already due to identify, picture and likeness (NIL). SponsorUnited’s examine of NIL advertising and marketing partnerships from February 2023 to February 2024 confirmed that Clark already had 9 model offers and was not even within the high 5 of feminine athletes when it got here to NIL offers.

In accordance with the examine, Angel Reese, of the Chicago Sky, and her former LSU teammate Flau’jae Johnson have been within the high 5. Reese had 26 NIL offers and Johnson had 18. SMU volleyball participant Alex Glover had 41 NIL offers, Cameron Brink – now of the Los Angeles Sparks – had 21, as did Illinois softball participant Yazzy Avila.

Clark has not leaned into the race debate both. Amid the on-court rivalry with Reese, Clark mentioned in March that they have been simply part of an even bigger puzzle for ladies’s sports activities.

Caitlin Clark guarded by Allisha Gray

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark, #22, drives on Atlanta Dream guard Allisha Grey, #15, throughout the first half of a preseason WNBA basketball recreation in Indianapolis on Thursday, Could 9, 2024. (AP Picture/Darron Cummings)


“I might say me and Angel have all the time been nice rivals,” she mentioned earlier than the Elite Eight matchup. “I believe Angel would say the identical, prefer it’s not simply us in girls’s basketball. That’s not the one aggressive factor about the place our recreation is at, and that’s what makes it so good. We want a number of folks to be actually good.”

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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