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More Thoughts on Caitlin Clark: "Clark Awoke a Monster In Us"

Let's drop some thoughts and comments on Caitlin Clark, shall we? 

::: enter collective sighs, groans, and eye rolls here :::

I know...

The continued discussion on Clark and her presence as a professional athlete continues to fascinate as well as enrage me. As discussed in an earlier post, what we are experiencing with Clark is the evolved coverage of an athlete, beyond just social media presence in what LeBron James endured, into a place of injecting every intersection of society into the discussion. 

Nope, it cannot just be about basketball (or sports). Because nothing ever is anymore. Ever. 

It's about all of it. Even when it doesn't have to be. So we're going to talk, yell, argue, insinuate, speculate, and what drives me crazy, have discourse in the most irresponsible manner possible. 

The simplest truth to Caitlin Clark's presence is this, there are multiple truths at play. And that's okay! 

Just a few more quick thoughts going forward:

- The most salient one of them all for me is this - Caitlan Clark doesn't deserve the discussion and narrative around her. Yet, she's handled it so gracefully. All at twenty-two years old. 

I'm so incredibly impressed by how she has handled this so far. And that's in the midst of a losing season. For me, that outweighs so much of her on-the-court talent. 


 
- There are a lot of new WNBA fans - and overall, women's basketball fans - who have entered the space and have attempted to make themselves integral parts of the discourse without relying on those who have been there the whole time. There are many media personnel (and personalities) who need to defer and make space for those covering the sport in detail and length, and base their "hot takes" on knowledge, not ratings or surfaced understanding. 

- The most cringe scenes this week have been men, telling women covering this space for years, the direction of women's basketball, what it needs to do, and in some ways, that they should be thankful for this opportunity to have a seat at the table. 

And for some, explaining their absence in the past on the topic with adjacent random allyship for women as reasoning. 

All of it - so cringe. 

- Caitlin Clark's fanbase is amazing. There is power and influence there for sure! Caitlin Clark's fanbase is also delusional and a distraction. Again, the two can be truths. The nuance of new fans wanting to give Clark the immediate platform (in terms of basketball presence) she had in college without earning it is a disservice to Clark. 

This is the best league in the world. Nobody's going to give you anything easy  

            - Breanna Stewart

- Again, yessssssssssssssss! Caitlin Clark is white. She is straight. That is undeniably a huge factor in her popularity. There is nothing wrong with identifying with an athlete if you see yourself in them. Also, yes, you're kidding yourself if you don't think America is...ahem, unfavorable to black, brown, and queer bodies in sports. That (and the entire race discussion) is an indictment of our society. 

So yeah, she's white. White people may love that (or might not admit it). She's popular because the majority race in the country identifies with that in a sport that is well, non-white. That shouldn't be a "take". That's fact, and how it goes. Many more layers to this deserve articulate and intelligent discourse well beyond this post. 

The identity politics are running wilddddd...

- Politicians utilizing Clark's name to push political narratives is so rich. What happened to "shut up and dribble"? Or, "keeping politics out of sports"! Again, there are sooooo many layers to this. Clark used the phrase "they awoke a monster" in regards to her motivation in not making Team USA. You know, typical athlete stuff. Mamba Mentality, if you will, not outrage and social injustice!

Look what they are doing to Caitlin!!!!!! 

But in reality, Clark awoke a monster in us. What athlete is next? And why are we like this?



- I understand the Olympic team discussion in regards to keeping the growth of the game going (I'm so sick of the phrase at this point) however, I'm asking a basketball-only question here - who are you taking off that Team USA roster? 

Is anyone lobbying for Arike Ogunbowale who also was snubbed and has a greater case to make the team (based on merit - ah yes!) than Clark? 

In continuing to use LeBron's career exposure in the fishbowl beginning in this new athlete-coverage (or whatever), I do have to wonder - what would the reaction be if say, LeBron was added to Team USA under the guidance of "continuing to grow the game" in his early career?

- Just talkin' hoops - has anyone discussed (or evaluated) many of the parts of her game she got away with in college, that need to be elevated or adjusted (and likely will)?

Oh by the way, can we talk hoops, regarding Caitlin Clark? Like, please! That would be more fun, to be honest. 

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