Caitlin Clark drafted No. 1 in WNBA draft, but family stole the show

From left, LSU's Angel Reese, Iowa's Caitlyn Clark, and Stanford's Cameron Brink, pose for a photo before the start of the WNBA basketball draft, Monday, April 15, 2024, in New York.
From left, LSU's Angel Reese, Iowa's Caitlyn Clark, and Stanford's Cameron Brink, pose for a photo before the start of the WNBA basketball draft, Monday, April 15, 2024, in New York. | Adam Hunger

To no one’s surprise, Caitlin Clark was the first pick in Monday’s WNBA draft.

Upon hearing her name called, Clark embraced her brothers and parents before walking up to the stage to hug WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert. One of the first things she mentioned to ESPN’s Holly Rowe in her post-pick interview was her family.

“I got a little anxious there for the pick, but I think more than anything, just grateful and lucky to have my family here, my friends over there, coaches up here,” she said.

That set the tone for the rest of the evening with draftees quick to thank their families after hearing their names called.

Cameron Brink gives shoutout to family, including godbrothers Stephen and Seth Curry

The No. 2 overall pick out of Stanford, Cameron Brink, was joined by her family at her draft table, including godmother Sonya Curry. She hugged Curry on her way to the stage and thanked her during her interview with Rowe.

“I think I just need to keep leaning on my people. You’ve listed all the amazing people in my life, and my godmother Sonya Curry up in there,” she said. “Shout out to my mom, my dad, and my brother, Cy. It really takes a village. It’s not a one-person job.”

Brink’s parents are the godparents to NBA stars Stephen Curry and Seth Curry, according to People.

The Curry brothers gave Brink advice ahead of draft day. She talked to both men Monday and called Stephen Curry five minutes before the start of the draft, she told reporters in a post-draft press conference.

Stephen Curry even hyped Brink up in a video he shared on his Instagram story.

Jacy Sheldon’s heartwarming interview with sister Emmy

After being drafted by the Dallas Wings, Ohio State’s Jacy Sheldon was talking to Rowe when Rowe invited Sheldon’s 16-year-old sister Emmy over to join the interview.

Emmy, who has Down Syndrome, told Rowe that she’s proud of her sister. Sheldon credited Emmy for having a huge impact on her “in so many ways.”

“In so many ways, she’s been a huge impact on me and my family, and she has no idea, and it’s been cool to see really the whole world, just to see how special she is and how much of an impact she makes,” Sheldon said.

Emmy also joined her older sister on Ohio State’s senior night earlier this year, holding her hand.

Emmy is a big part of Sheldon’s game day routine. She yells during opponents’ free throws, and according to Rowe, plays a pivotal role in making them miss. She also records a pregame message for her older sister, according to Buckeyes reporter Adam King.

While moving farther away from home to Dallas will change that routine, Sheldon expects her younger sister to make an appearance at some of her WNBA games this season.

“She’s everything to me. She’s my why,” she said in her post-draft press conference. “But she’s special man.”

Rickea Jackson shouts out her family

The Los Angeles Sparks picked Rickea Jackson fourth overall with their second pick of the night, and she was quick to credit her family for introducing her to basketball and getting her to where she is today.

“If it wasn’t for my brothers, I wouldn’t have even picked up a basketball, and you know, my mom just instilling greatness and knowledge and you know, always keeping God number one — that just really made me the player who I am today,” she told Rowe during the broadcast.

Nyadiew Puoch gets emotional talking about her mom

Nyadiew Puoch, a 19-year-old from Australia, was the last pick in the first round of the draft. Puoch choked up when Rowe asked her about her mom.

Puoch is one of seven kids and comes from a basketball loving — and playing — family.

“It’s huge. We’re a big family, and we love basketball,” she said. “My mom, she’s done so much for us. She’s so strong. She’s such a great mom. She’s done it even through thick and thin. She’s looked after us, and here she is traveling in New York, watching me doing this.”

Kamilla Cardoso’s goal to give her family a better life

Fresh off winning a national championship with South Carolina, Kamilla Cardoso was picked third overall by the Chicago Sky. She was joined at the WNBA draft by her mom and sister, who came all the way to New York from Brazil.

“For me it’s really special that (my sister’s) here. She’s one of my biggest inspirations. She’s the reason why I’m here right now because she’s inspired me to play basketball, so I’m just so thankful that she’s able to be here,” she told Rowe.

At age 15, Cardoso left Brazil and moved to the U.S. without knowing English to pursue her basketball dreams, and she did it all for her family.

“I had a goal to be here tonight and give my family a better life, so I’m just so thankful that I was able to be here,” she said.

She added on to that in her post-draft press conference, saying “I got really emotional because the main goal was to get here and being able to give my family a better life, and just by looking at them and seeing them at my table was amazing. I always get emotional when talking about my family because I’m so proud of everything I was able to accomplish and do for them.”