LeBron James on WNBA star rookie Caitlin Clark being criticized

Interest in the WNBA has never been higher than it is right now, and a major reason is the arrival of Caitlin Clark.

Clark, who became the all-time leading scorer in Division I college basketball history among both men and women just a few months ago, is hoping to make the Indiana Fever a winning team. She’s off to a somewhat rocky start as a pro, especially since the Fever have lost each of their first four games this season.

Along the way, Caitlin has had to endure some criticism. Some feel she has been overhyped, and a few people have even claimed she’s getting the attention she’s receiving only because she is Caucasian.

But LeBron James feels that criticism is unwarranted. While on his “Mind the Game” podcast, he told co-host JJ Redick that he’s hoping Clark does extremely well and silences all of her haters.

“The one thing that I love that she’s bringing to her sport?” said James. “More people want to watch. More people want to tune in. Don’t get it twisted. Don’t get it [expletive] up. Caitlin Clark is the reason why a lot of great things is going to happen for the WNBA. But for her individually, I don’t think she should get involved on nothing 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.

“… There’s a very small number of men and women that actually get to live out their dream of playing a professional sport, and we have grown [expletive] men and women doing whatever they can to try to make sure that does not happen.”

Clark’s impact on the league is already immense. Coverage of this year’s WNBA draft got immense ratings, and ratings for this season’s opening doubleheader on ABC were much higher compared to last season.


“WNBA TV ratings have skyrocketed in the 2024 season,” wrote Matt Johnson. “ABC announced it had its most-viewed opening weekend doubleheader ever, with two games combining to average 1.5 million viewers. That marks a 143 percent increase from a WNBA doubleheader on ABC a year ago.

“The WNBA has already had four games averaging over 1.3 million viewers this season across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. These are the most-watched WNBA games in over two decades.”

In addition, players across the league now enjoy chartered flights just like their male counterparts have for about 30 years, an improvement that has widely been credited to the presence of Clark.

Perhaps the biggest impact she and her colleagues will have due to the WNBA’s skyrocketing popularity is the inspiration they will provide to young girls across the nation who will now have the belief and inspiration to chase their dreams.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire