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Shaquille O’Neal Credits Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark Beef for Beating Men in March Madness Finals Viewership

Published 04/11/2024, 3:30 PM EDT

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In March Madness, the men’s tournament often takes center stage as the biggest event in college basketball excitement. However, in an unexpected development, the women’s games seized center stage this year and captivated viewers all across the world. Around the sports world, this change in emphasis has generated conversations. NBA star Shaquille O’Neal has provided an intriguing analysis of the factors that contributed to the extraordinary spike in viewership.

But what specifically stoked their animosity, though, and how did it affect the number of people who watched the March Madness finals? The talk turned from the men’s events to the women’s tournament’s historic accomplishment as the March Madness finals came to an end. According to Charles Barkley, the views crossed “19x million.” Renowned NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, who is now a sports broadcaster, had a fresh perspective on the situation, pinning the unexpected increase in viewing on the feud between Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark.

O’Neal’s acceptance: The rising prominence of women’s basketball

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Two prominent figures in women’s collegiate basketball emerged: Iowa Hawkeyes’ Caitlin Clark and LSU’s Angel Reese. Audiences were enthralled by their extraordinary talent and fierce competition, which led to parallels to basketball’s best players. The fact that O’Neal acknowledged their impact on viewing serves as a testament to the rising stature of women’s basketball and the celebrity status of its players.

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Furthermore, on the YouTube handle of ‘CNN’, O’Neal stated, “I realized that this was the first year I was more interested in the women’s when I was in, men’s basketball. No disrespect to men, but we always had problems when the player was great player. I got to watch.  Some on the girls.” He continued, “But this year it was just different. Like 15 of 20 beautiful females really doing that. And you know, I’m happy for women’s sports.”

Angel Reese’s presence enhances the plot even more, and O’Neal’s comparison of Caitlin Clark to NBA player Steph Curry emphasizes the transcendent quality of her skill. Fans were captivated and the tournament attracted a record-breaking crowd due to their concurrence, which was motivated by a common ambition for excellence. Even devoted fans of men’s basketball were drawn to the women’s games this year, as Shaq himself acknowledged.

Curry and Clark: A comparative analysis by Shaquille O’Neal

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Beyond Reese and Clark’s specific skill sets, O’Neal’s remarks highlighted a more general change in the way that people view women’s basketball. Though the men’s game has always taken center stage, athletes like Reese and Clark’s achievements are changing the story. They are defying clichés and gaining the respect of both fans and commentators with their thrilling performances and ferocious rivalry. Shaq mentioned, “Definitely what happened last year between Caitlin Clark and Angel Rees,” continuing, “Caitlin Clark is a special player. She reminds me of Steph Curry.”

O’Neal’s acknowledgment of women’s basketball as a respectable and captivating show says eloquently about the sport’s increasing importance in the sports industry. The lines between men’s and women’s hoops continue to blur as more viewers tune in to witness gifted players like Reese and Clark display their abilities on the floor.

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Finally, this pattern not only suggests that women’s sports have a bright future ahead of them but also highlights how popular basketball is everywhere. March Madness saw a significant change in the landscape of women’s collegiate basketball due to the outstanding performances of Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark.

Continue Reading: Kevin Durant’s Unstoppable Climb: The Next Threat to Shaq’s Legacy?

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Written by:

Arya Patil

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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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