Caitlin Clark snubbed for a spot on the US Olympic women’s basketball team

Team USA’s Olympic men’s basketball team roster was finalized a month ago. Team USA has fielded another dream team for the Paris Olympics: LeBron James, Steph Curry, Anthony Edwards, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis, among others. For many of those guys, it will be their first time playing on the Olympic team (it’s LeBron’s fourth time at the Olympics, fwiw). It looks like a lot of pro players are very interested in going to Paris for the Olympics this year. Well, the roster for the women’s basketball team is still being finalized, and the roster is causing a lot of controversy.

Rather suddenly, people have a lot of interest in the WNBA, mostly because of the personalities of this year’s rookies and the gangbusters popularity of women’s college basketball. We’ve talked about Caitlin Clark before – she played for Iowa, and when she graduated this year, she turned pro and she now plays for the Indiana Fever. This is her rookie year. She’s 22 years old. Well, she wasn’t chosen for the Olympic team and people are MAD. Caitlin has really become the “great white hope” for casual women’s basketball fans and the sports commentary class is really upset that Team USA would miss the chance to put Clark on the Olympic team.

Indiana Fever rookie sensation Caitlin Clark is expected to be left off the 12-player Team USA women’s basketball roster for the upcoming Summer Olympics, according to sources briefed on the decision.

The roster indicates a preference for veterans with the selection of A’ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, Alyssa Thomas, Napheesa Collier, Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young, Sabrina Ionescu, Chelsea Gray and Kahleah Copper, those sources said. The U.S. women have won gold at every Olympics since 1996, and this distinguished roster of All-Stars appears positioned to be a favorite in Paris.

Seven of the 12 players have Olympic five-on-five experience and two more have 3×3 experience, so there will be only three first-time Olympians — Thomas, Copper and Ionescu. Selected players began receiving their Team USA Olympics jerseys recently.

Clark, Brionna Jones and Aliyah Boston would likely be alternates if one of the 12 cannot play, sources said. Boston, Clark’s Fever teammate and last year’s WNBA Rookie of the Year, is another young talent notably left off the roster.

[From The NY Times]

Follow-up reporting from USA Today indicates that Clark won’t even be considered as an alternate, mostly because Team USA doesn’t want to invite any backlash about how they’re keeping Caitlin on the bench. Which I get – this is about team dynamics and the strength of the team overall. I don’t know much about Caitlin Clark, but from what I can tell, she’s not popular within the WNBA and they seem to be hazing her. Still, I actually think that the argument of “Clark will help grow the sport” is accurate. While people are arguing that Clark will bring more fans to women’s basketball, I would argue that Clark has the potential to be something else: the villain, the woman everyone roots against. Which still brings people to the sport, because they’re hate-watching the villain.

Honest question: Is she really growing the game if her fans ONLY watch a bad Fever team and disrespect every other player (even her own teammates) and team in the W?

— Dennis Glade (@Dennis_Glade) June 9, 2024

Caitlin Clark texted Fever HC Christie Sides this after finding out she didn’t make the Olympic team

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 9, 2024

Thanks, David. Having covered the Olympics for 40 years (gulp), I’ve seen some bad team and athlete selection decisions. This is the worst. Makes absolutely no sense for a women’s sport that would have been catapulted onto the world stage in the greatest way possible with Clark.

— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) June 8, 2024

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.

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