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Caitlin Clark’s 28 Million $ Nike Deal: Is She Getting Shortchanged, Dave Portnoy Thinks So?

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Caitlin Clark, the talented basketball phenom and number-one pick for the Indiana Fever, recently inked an eight-year, $28 million contract with Nike. While this deal might seem like a windfall, it has sparked controversy and debate. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy is among those who believe Clark is being shortchanged by the athletic giant.

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Under the WNBA’s collective bargaining agreement, Clark will earn a modest $338,056 over four years with the Indiana Fever. In comparison, Victor Wembanyama, the top pick in the 2023 NBA draft, secured a staggering $55 million deal. The disparity between men’s and women’s sports contracts is glaring, and Clark’s Nike contract adds another layer to this discussion.

Caitlin Clark’s Meteoric Rise and Marketing Potential

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Caitlin Clark has taken the college basketball world by storm. Her electrifying playing style and infectious personality have captivated audiences, making her a marketing dream for major brands. She holds the record for most points scored by a freshman in NCAA history and boasts a significant social media following.

The Nike Deal

On the surface, Clark’s Nike deal appears impressive. She will develop her own signature sneaker, become an ambassador for the Kobe Bryant line, and receive over $3 million per season. But Dave Portnoy isn’t convinced. He took to X (formerly Twitter) to express his opinion: “If people want to complain about Caitlin Clark getting screwed, complain about this: eight-year, $28 million deal is STEALING. Eight years, $80 million [minimum] is her worth, and that’s still probably too cheap” .

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Portnoy’s argument centers on Clark’s star power. He believes that her impact transcends gender and that her sneakers would sell—especially to girls who play basketball. Comparing her to NBA star Devin Booker, Portnoy asserts that Clark is “100x the star and impact” . He hopes she has an early opt-out clause if Nike fails to recognize her true value.

Context matters in this debate. The recent changes in college athletics, including the adoption of the “Name, Image, and Likeness” (NIL) policy, have shifted the landscape. College athletes can now profit from their personal brand endorsements, and Clark’s marketability is undeniable. Her talent, charisma, and potential to inspire young athletes make her a valuable asset.

ALSO READ: Anthony Edwards’ Fiery Trash Talk Ignites NBA Playoffs: A Closer Look

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