3 WNBA players who dampened $3.4M NIL-valued Caitlin Clark’s GOAT status/stellar achievements

Breanna Stewart, Caitlin Clark, Diana Taurasi

Breanna Stewart, Caitlin Clark, Diana Taurasi

It’s undeniable that Caitlin Clark changed the course of women’s basketball with her excellent performances.

Her impact on the viewership numbers and ticket sales are well accounted for. Clark has also raked in unbelievable numbers and broken multiple records, including the NCAA Division I all-time scorers list (men or women)

Nevertheless, Caitlin Clark – who has an NIL vaalue of $3.4 million as per On3, graduates from college basketball without winning an NCAA Championship. She led the Iowa Hawkeyes to two final games but lost both; the first to the LSU Tigers in 2023 and then to the South Carolina Gamecocks in 2024.

Many of Caitlin Clark’s naysayers have been using that against her and now, even WNBA players are joining in.

Three WNBA players who downplayed Caitlin Clark’s achievements

#1 Breanna Stewart

During her four years at UConn, Stewart won four NCAA Championships. In the WNBA, she helped the New York Liberty win two rings and was the MVP twice.

When asked if Caitlin Clark needs to win a title to be considered the GOAT, she said:

“Yeah, she does. I think so. You are going to look 10 years back and you are going to see all the records that she has broken, points and stuff like that, but anybody knows your goal when you play college basketball is to win a national championship. So you need one.”

However, Stewart’s Liberty teammate Sabrina Ionescu who was the all-time triple-double leader, never won a national championship with Oregon Ducks.

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, a two-time Naismith Player of the Year who even has an award named after her by the Phoenix Club of Philadelphia, didn’t win one at Virginia.

Las Vegas Aces’ Kelsey Plum, the previous NCAAW all-time leading scorer, also didn’t win a title at Washington. Many fans argue that a title is a team effort and doesn’t ride on a single person’s efforts.

The fact that Caitlin Clark was able to take the Hawkeyes, a team with just one Final Four appearance from 1993, to two title games is a testament to her greatness.

Regardless of Stewart’s opinions, Dawn Staley recognized Clark’s GOAT status and thanked her for uplifting the sport, after SC won the title.

#2 Diana Taurasi

Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi hosted ‘The Bird and Taurasi Show’ during the Final Four and championship games.

During the game between the UConn Huskies and Iowa Hawkeyes, the question of who the two would pick between Paige Bueckers and Caitlin Clark for a WNBA team first was asked.

Sue Bird chose Clark and explained her reasons, while Taurasi gave a short answer:

“I’m taking Paige. Next question.”

Her curt answer rubbed many fans the wrong way. Taurasi doubled down and warned Clark of her future in the WNBA. During a chat on ESPN’s Sportscenter, she said:

“Reality is coming. There’s levels to this thing. And that’s just life, we all went through it. … 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.”

“Not saying that it’s not going to translate, because when you’re great at what you do, you’re just going to get better. But there is going to be a transition period, where you’re just going to have to give yourself grace as a rookie, and it might take a little bit longer for some people,” Taurasi said.

Apart from all her comments, Diana Taurasi’s team, Phoenix Mercury, fueled this rivalry by calling its tip-off against Indiana Fever on Jun. 30, Caitlin Clark’s projected team, as “The GOAT vs The Rook.”

Fans in the comments pointed out the hypocrisy of a supposed GOAT hopping on the popularity train of a rookie while actively downplaying her achievements.

Other fans added that this was Taurasi’s personality: to hate on and diss all rookies, something she has been doing throughout her 20-year career.

#3 Sheryl Swoopes

The former WNBA player’s arguments were the most ill-informed, baseless and outright hate comments of all.

During an appearance on the Gils Arena podcast, Sheryl Swoopes claimed that Caitlin Clark was a 25-year-old, fifth-year player which made it easy for her to become the all-time leading scorer, adding that the guard takes more than 40 shots per game. All of which were false.

Clark, 22, surpassed Kelsey Plum in 130 games against the latters’ 139. She also took an average of 20.1 shots per game, including 10.4 from the 3-point line.

After her comments, an internet firestorm ensued as fans called her out for her lies. Iowa fans even wore shirts that said “Don’t Be A Sheryl” to the Feb. 8 game against Penn State.

Eventually, Swoopes apologized to Caitlin Clark, thanks to Angel Reese who helped get the former player in contact with the Iowa guard.

What do you think of these players downplaying Caitlin Clark? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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