Diana Taurasi and Other Caitlin Clark Critics Get Slammed by NBA Legend for Undermining Iowa Star’s WNBA Arrival

Published 04/12/2024, 10:52 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

A story of criticism and expectation revolves around the entrance of Iowa standout Caitlin Clark, amid the chaos of college basketball tournaments and WNBA debuts.  Amidst all of this energy, the NBA great Jeff Teague can be heard echoing words of encouragement and criticizing those who undermine Clark’s WNBA debut.

NBA veteran Jeff Teague addressed the criticism of Caitlin Clark and other up-and-coming talent on a recent episode of the Club 520 Podcast. Teague didn’t hold back. Thinking back to the excitement around Clark’s college career and her upcoming move to the WNBA, Teague’s passionate defense illuminates a larger discussion about how emerging talent is handled in women’s basketball. So, this begs the question: what did Jeff Teague say?

Caitlin Clark’s unprecedented collegiate route


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With several record-breaking performances, Clark’s college career reads like a screenplay written by a basketball enthusiast. Clark’s influence extends much beyond the basketball court, as seen by her knack for breaking scoring records inside the NCAA and guiding Iowa to the verge of championship triumph. Nevertheless, despite her incredible achievements, Clark has come under the scrutiny of seasoned pros like Diana Taurasi, whose remarks during the NCAA tournament generated discussion and conjecture over Clark’s suitability for the WNBA.

“I’m taking Paige,” Diana Taurasi said. “Next question.” In the WNBA draft, Bird asked her whether Bueckers should decide to drop out of school, and she admitted she would rather choose her over Clark as the first overall pick. “Absolutely,” she said. Given all that Clark has done, Taurasi’s unwavering answer was undoubtedly slightly spicy.


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Basketball fans were drawn to and scrutinized Taurasi’s open comments on Clark’s talent and preparedness for the WNBA during a simulcast with Sue Bird. Taurasi’s claim that Clark wouldn’t be able to succeed under Geno Auriemma’s coaching at UConn, and her choice for Paige Bueckers over Clark in make-believe situations, sparked debates about the scrutiny that young players joining the professional ranks must endure. Even though Taurasi’s comments contained lighthearted humor, they emphasized the larger discussion on how emerging icons in women’s basketball are treated and the bar they have to meet when they join the WNBA.

Examining the critics: Teague’s viewpoint

In the Club 520 Podcast, Jeff Teague expressed his admiration for Caitlin Clark. Also, contempt for those who are criticizing her for joining the WNBA, saying, “They fumbled that, man. They fumbled that. And any other time, they can make it a PR stuff, yes, we understand the hype isn’t there. We understand some of the things she’s able to market. We get that. But some of this stuff? Nah, bro. She just be killing, you don’t like it.


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Additionally, continuing to defend Clark, Teague asserted that she may have the same potential influence as basketball legend Michael Jordan. “This was Caitlin Clark is y’all MJ, y’all were supposed to prop her up. Like, ‘Oh no, she’s one of them ones, man. We’re excited for her to get here, we can’t wait to watch her play against her.’ They were over there hating, bro, hating hard as [expletive], man.”

Read More: Caitlin Clark Alone Did Not Impact the Women’s Basketball Team, Argues Disappointed NBA Veteran


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Finally, Teague’s remarks act as a call to action for fans and commentators to support the next wave of players, and also acknowledge the revolutionary potential they offer to the sport, as Clark prepares to start her WNBA career. In the clamor of criticism, Teague’s argument serves as a ray of hope.

Continue Reading: Angel Reese vs Caitlin Clark – Explore NIL Deals, Endorsments and Impact on NCAA ahead of 2024 WNBA Draft


Written by:

Arya Patil


One take at a time

Arya is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. She skillfully combines her academic acumen with a passion for the game that she developed over years of watching the ups and downs of the NBA. Arya is a seasoned journalist who provides fans with a detailed look at the league's inner workings.
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Edited by:

Caroline Joseph