ZUO Sports >MMA Arena >LeBron James: 'I’m rooting for Caitlin [Clark] because I’ve been in that seat before' - NBC Sports

LeBron James: 'I’m rooting for Caitlin [Clark] because I’ve been in that seat before' - NBC Sports


Indiana Fever v Seattle Storm

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MAY 22: Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever reacts prior to a game against the Seattle Storm in the game at Climate Pledge Arena on May 22, 2024 in Seattle, Washington. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

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Caitlin Clark is the most hyped player ever to enter the WNBA and brought with her a very bright spotlight and more fans for the league. The early results are mixed on the court. Clark is a huge draw and is averaging 17.8 points a game, but is shooting just 32.6% from 3 and 40.3% overall, and she’s had some rough turnover games (10 against Connecticut, eight against New York). Her Indiana Fever are 0-5 to start the season, which is neither surprising nor all on Clark by any means, it’s a sign of how big the jump is to the WNBA from the college game. It’s a major adjustment.

What matters most is Clark has more people watching (forcing the WNBA to stop dragging its heels on growth issues, such as charter flights). It’s a lot on her shoulders, but Clark has the biggest name in basketball — and maybe one of only a couple of people who could relate to what she is going through — in her corner in LeBron James. Here is what he said on the “Mind Your Game” podcast with (future LeBron coach?) J.J. Redick.

“The one thing that I love that she’s bringing to her sport: More people want to watch. More people want to tune in. Don’t get it twisted. Don’t get it f***** up. Caitlin Clark is the reason why a lot of great things are going to happen for the WNBA...

“For her individually, I don’t think she should get involved in (anything) that’s being said. Just go have fun, enjoy. I’m rooting for Caitlin because I’ve been in that seat before. I’ve walked that road before. I hope she kills. I hope [Fever forward and former No. 1 pick] Aliyah Boston does amazing. I hope they do great.”

Boston and Clark are the foundation of something that could be very special in Indiana, but it takes time to grow and develop that in the WNBA — this is an incredibly deep and talented league. Every team is stacked with the best of their college teams.

Clark has shown how strong she is mentally — she will be fine, particularly on the court. What has to be more challenging, what LeBron can relate to, is the pull off the court. Whether all her peers like it or not, Clark is one of the faces of the WNBA and has a huge fan base behind her — those peers in the league can benefit from that if they band together to push the league forward (charter flights a perfect example, the WNBA botched how they started to roll that out). There are team owners and people in power within the league who want to pump the breaks on rapid growth and change, and those people should be left behind — the WNBA needs to seize this moment. It’s a time for bold actions, not the timid steps of some owners trying to save money and protect their fiefdoms.

Clark will be in the center of all that, which is why LeBron’s advice is wise: “Just go have fun, enjoy.” Clark should listen to the guy who has been there before.

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