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The Impact of Caitlin Clark On the Future of the WNBA

The Impact of Caitlin Clark On the Future of the WNBA

Caitlin Clark is one of the few examples of a rookie who will be considered one of the best players in the WNBA before even being drafted. Her pre-draft hype is precluded only by players like LeBron James, or Victor Wembanyama.

She has already broken the NCAA Women’s scoring record and is at the time of this writing, only 18 points away from passing the NCAA Men’s record. It is for these reasons, Caitlin will do for the WNBA what Magic did for the NBA.

When we watch sports, we watch them for the storylines. Earvin Johnson is THE prime example of this. He wasn’t just really good, he had a story. He took Michigan State to the National Championship, winning it over Indiana State and his soon-to-be rival, Larry Bird. Caitlin Clark took Iowa to the National Championship last year, although instead losing to her opponent, LSU. She, of course, has broken the previously mentioned scoring records and as of February 29th, has declared for the WNBA draft.

Let’s take a look at how Magic’s career turned out after his college career, ignoring of course his untimely retirement due to his HIV diagnosis. After being drafted first overall by the Los Angeles Lakers, people tuned in to watch this guy who was so good, everyone called him Magic. He went on to win three finals MVPs, three NBA MVPs, was a twelve time NBA All Star, two time NBA All Star MVP, 9 x All NBA First Teamer, All Rookie Team; the list goes on.

He went on to win five championships for the Lakers, three of which were over Bird’s Celtics. Bird and Magic battled it out near every finals while the world watched in awe. Clark may have her own antagonist in Angel Reese of LSU, who defeated her and Iowa in the National Championship in 2023, and of course taunted her after she walked off the court much to the dismay of many. That however is left to be seen.

Her Impact So Far..

Clark could do it. Magic was so good, people tuned in to basketball solely to watch him; the NBAs revenue shot up and we all know what became of that. Caitlin is so good, people are tuning in to women’s basketball solely to watch her. Because of her, there is now a demand for women’s basketball with get-in ticket prices for Ohio State versus Iowa as high as $450 for nosebleeds as of February 29th, 2024.

I was one of those individuals who didn’t necessarily enjoy women’s basketball due to unlikeable players, their situations, and the fact the NBA, of course, has the best players in the world.

Clark can shoot from anywhere on the court and that is something not based on size. If she was drafted into the NBA (not the WNBA) today, she could slot in as a spot up shooter, à la Duncan Robinson or Joe Harris, and still have the potential to drive into the hoop and progress into something even better.

Final Thoughts

I’m not attempting to crown her as the GOAT or place impossible expectations on her. Magic Johnson is arguably a top two point guard of all time (to me only second to Stephen Curry, but to most the greatest
ever) and that is a lofty, near impossible thing to live up to.

Clark has the potential however to live up to her marketability for the WNBA and if the league knows anything about marketing, they will promote her every chance they get.

When Caitlin Clark is inevitably drafted first overall, don’t be surprised when her first game tickets are practically impossible to obtain. This woman is going to do great things for the WNBA, in the same way she did for women’s college basketball, and in the same way Magic did for the NBA.


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