Becky Hammon Defends Caitlin Clark Amid Controversy: “Knock It Off, It’s Not There

Becky Hammon Defends Caitlin Clark Amid Controversy: "Knock It Off, It's Not There

The narrative surrounding Caitlin Clark, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, has reached new heights this week, drawing opinions from high-profile figures such as LeBron James and Charles Barkley. Both expressed their views on Clark’s impact on the league, with James offering advice and praise, while Barkley made more pointed comments regarding the reception Clark has received from her peers.

LeBron James and Charles Barkley Weigh In

During an episode of his podcast with JJ Redick, James praised Clark for elevating the WNBA’s stature, stating, “Don’t get it twisted, don’t get it f—ed up: Caitlin Clark is the reason why a lot of great things are going to happen for the WNBA.”

Barkley, speaking on Inside the NBA, agreed with James and criticized those who may be resentful of Clark’s impact. “You women out there, y’all petty, man,” Barkley said. “Y’all should be thanking that girl for getting y’all ass private charters. All the money and visibility she’s bringing to the WNBA, don’t be petty like dudes. Listen, what she’s accomplished, give her her flowers.”

 

Becky Hammon Responds on Caitlin Clark

These comments, particularly Barkley’s, have stirred significant conversation within the WNBA, leading to numerous players responding on social media. The most direct rebuttal came from Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon, who addressed the situation before the Aces’ game against Clark and the Indiana Fever.

“We love Caitlin Clark,” Hammon stated emphatically. “I think she’s amazing. I watch every time I possibly can. Our league loves her. We’re just doing our job. We’re going to show up, whoever’s on the other team is on the other team, we don’t really care, we’re going to show up and do us.”

Hammon continued, “This narrative of everybody hating on Caitlin Clark, and even the black and white thing, knock it off. It’s not there. It’s not there. So shut down the noise. And by the way, what is she, 22? She’s a 22-year-old woman with a lot of pressure. She’s not perfect, she’s a rookie in this league. Back off.”



 

A’ja Wilson’s Take

Aces star A’ja Wilson also weighed in, expressing her fatigue with the ongoing conversation and empathy for Clark. “I’m exhausted over the conversation,” Wilson said, adding she can “only imagine” how Clark feels amid the scrutiny.

Caitlin Clark Performance and the Fever’s Struggles

Clark has shown flashes of brilliance in her rookie season, averaging 17.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.8 assists over her first five games. However, she has also struggled with efficiency, shooting 40.3% from the field, and has a high turnover rate of 5.8 per game. The Indiana Fever are off to a challenging start, with a 1-5 record, despite securing their first win against the Los Angeles Sparks.

Conclusion

Becky Hammon’s defense of Caitlin Clark underscores a broader point about support and understanding for new players navigating the pressures of professional sports. As the WNBA continues to grow in visibility and competitiveness, the league’s community appears committed to fostering a positive environment for all its players, rookies and veterans alike. The focus remains on the game, with Hammon and her team ready to face any opponent while appreciating the talents and contributions of players like Clark.

 

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