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Glaring Stain on Caitlin Clark Resume Will Harm Her, Warns Stephen A. Smith After Diana Taurasi’s Bold Claim

Published 04/09/2024, 12:02 AM EDT

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“The reality is coming.” These were the words of three-time WNBA Champion Diana Taurasi as she warned Caitlin Clark of the road ahead. Clark will take her talents to the WNBA as he gears up for the upcoming draft after her collegiate career ended in a heartbreaking defeat to the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Finals. Still, she had a record-breaking career in the NCAA and will hope for a similar impact in the WNBA.

Clark’s exploits in the NCAA will stand the test of time, and she will always be in the conversation of one of the all-time best. But a missing NCAA Championship, won’t look good on her resume according to Stephen A. Smith.

On The Stephen A. Smith Show, the veteran analyst pointed out that despite having a historic college career, Caitlin Clark was unable to win a college championship which doesn’t help her cause in the GOAT debate. Smith said, “Caitlin Clark is absolutely phenomenal and when you talk about the GOATS of the game she’s certainly in consideration to be one of them. The difference is unlike Sheryl Swoops unlike Diana Terasi unlike Cheryl Miller unlike Brianna Stewart unlike these wonderful marvelous women that have played in women’s college basketball they all walked away with championships she didn’t.”

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Smith then added, “She doesn’t have a championship. So that’s going to be a blemish when you talk about somebody being the GOAT in the history of anything. If you don’t have a single Championship to show for it you don’t get those kind of accolades and laudables associated with your name.”

Championships have always been an obvious measure of a player’s greatness in every sport. Clark’s failure to lead the Iowa Hawkeyes to a title despite reaching the finals two years in a row will be discussed for a long time. But her records and achievements will also be part of any conversation around her. She will hope to add a WNBA Championship once she makes the move to the big league, but that would be far from easy.

A few days ago, Diana Taurasi, UConn women’s basketball icon, highlighted why Clark won’t find it easy in the WNBA. She said, “Reality is coming. There’s levels to this thing. And that’s just life, we all went through it. You see it on the NBA side, and you’re going to see it on this side. You look superhuman playing against 18-year-olds, but you’re going to come with some grown women that have been playing professional basketball for a long time.”

Despite what may seem like a dark cloud hanging over Clark, Smith also reminded everyone what the Iowa star has achieved.

“Cannot be measured,” Stephen A. Smith talks Caitlin Clark’s impact on Women’s basketball

After talking about Clark’s failure to win the NCAA Championship Stephen A. Smith praised her for the impact she has had on the women’s game. He said, “What Caitlyn Clark has done for women’s basketball can’t be measured. She put it on her shoulder, she uplifted it. She helped generate an audience women’s basketball had never seen. And when you have that kind of stuff on your resume that goes a long way so it’s to be respected.”

Indeed Clark’s impact on the game was evident from this year’s NCAA Women’s tournament ratings. The Elite Eight matchup between Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese’s LSU set a new NCAA Women’s basketball record with 12.3 million viewers.

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It did not stop there. The Final Four matchup between Caitlin Clark and Paige Bueckers’ Uconn Huskies shattered the previous record with 14.2 million viewers. And Sunday’s final topped that with 18.7 million viewers.

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The Caitlin Clark-starring NCAA Finals was the most-watched basketball game (college or pro) since 2019. Although she did not win a college title, she brought millions of new eyeballs to women’s basketball.

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Stephen A. Smith believes if Clark continues her dominance in the WNBA, not only will it benefit her, but the entire league. The youngster is projected to get drafted Number 1 on Monday’s WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever. Clark will hope to put the disappointment of the NCAA behind her and carve out a legacy in the WNBA that will see her as an all-time great.

Read More: Jessica Pegula Marvels Over Danielle Collins, Caitlin Clark and Nelly Korda’s Monumental Feats to Stamp Authority for Women’s Sports

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Written by:

Rohan Bhaunt

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Rohan Singh Bhaunt, an NBA Writer at EssentiallySports, boasts a background as a divisional basketball player and an NBA enthusiast spanning over a decade. His extensive knowledge of the sport enables him to intricately explore its nuances, presenting a fresh outlook. Rohan's dive into the NBA newsdesk at ES commenced with witnessing LeBron James secure his inaugural championship in Miami.
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Edited by:

Daniel D'Cruz