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USA Today via Reuters

The USA recently announced its basketball team for the Paris Olympics. One name missing from it was that of Caitlin Clark. This had a lot of fans vying for a spot for their favorite athlete. However, not many noticed that apart from Clark, her arch-rival Angel Reese had been ignored too from the 12-woman squad. Celebrated journalist Stephen A Smith recently in the aftermath came forward to speak his opinion about Clark which did not go down well with a lot of Reese’s fans.

Smith was present during a show of First Take when he chose to voice his opinion regarding Clark. As per him, Caitlin Clark has brought a lot of fame to the sport and although athletics is about being the best, Clark can put the WNBA on the global map which can get a lot of recognition to the players who can make a lot of money from it.

“But the WNBA does (referring to popularity). You got a max salary of $250K, your attendance although it was trending in the right direction. Certainly wasn’t the way you wanted it to be. And as Shady pointed out just the other day, you gotta team in the Indiana Fever with his struggling self. Struggling to win a damn game and be relevant. No team in the WNBA was worth other than the winless Washington Mystics. And they went from 4000 in attendance to 17,000. This goal is box office….It is an opportunity to globalize the WNBA brand. So people like Brittney Griner, God… God, bless her soul. Don’t have to go to Russia in the off-season to play basketball,” Smith stated.

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Notably, since Clark’s arrival, the WNBA ticket sales have gone up by 93%. The New York Liberty had their ticket sales of a record $2 million when they played against the Indiana Fever. 

The Fever’s home attendance on average is 16,571 per game this year. Their lowest home game attendance average is 15,022 people, as per front office sports. And this number is exponentially higher than their lowest home attendance average last year of 2,450. Therefore, Clark has grabbed a lot of eyeballs as she brought fans from the NCAA. However, this didn’t go down well with Reese’s fans and they spilled their feelings about the same.

Angel Reese’s fans fired up over Caitlin Clark’s comment

If Angel Reese didn’t make the Olympic team, then neither should Caitlyn. Fair is fair,” one fan commented. Maybe the fan was pointing out the fact that Caitlin Clark and Reese were considered arch-rivals during their time at the NCAA. While Clark is the NCAA Queen, Reese is the ‘Bayou Barbie’. While Clark is the leader in points, Reese is called the double-double queen. Therefore, Clark also shouldn’t make the team in Reese’s absence. And as per the fan, it wasn’t fair that Clark might be taken as an alternative if a situation arises.

“They should both be on the team,” another user commented. The user might be stating the fact that the Chicago Sky has also been recording sellout games and it’s not only Clark who has grabbed eyeballs. Therefore, both deserved to be on the team if they went by the reasoning of Smith.

“Wrong. Its all about marketing and is more box office than Reese,” another netizen seemed furious with the fact that instead of comparing balling skills, a sports team should be made according to Smith’s logic which is that more marketable players earn a spot with the team.

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“Too much logic here,” another netizen also pointed to the same fact that Smith was using too much logic. Instead, the selection committee should concentrate on the skills players bring to the table.

“I would much rather see @CaitlinClark22 not make the team. Get rest and develop chemistry with her team. Then kick ass in four years in LA!,” Another user remarked that Clark should instead spend time with the Fever and not play the Olympic. This way she will develop more chemistry with her teammates and elevate her game to the next level like she did in the NCAA.

Whatever the team, hopefully, both Reese and Clark will continue to elevate the game and bring more glory and money to the WNBA with their exceptional skills and personalities.

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Stay tuned for more such updates, and to follow what Shaq’s ex-agent, Leonard Armato, has to say about the Reese-Clark rivalry and more, watch this video.