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Shannon Sharpe thinks Caitlin Clark’s snub from the Olympic team is a missed opportunity for women’s basketball- “Are we really trying to grow the game?” 

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The exclusion of Caitlin Clark from the USA Women’s Basketball Olympic Team for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France has ignited a fierce debate. First Take host Shannon Sharpe, along with other analysts, questions the decision to leave out the rookie sensation from the Indiana Fever.

Caitlin Clark: A Phenomenon

 

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Caitlin Clark undeniably has a unique impact, unlike any player in the history of women’s basketball. She shattered viewership records at the University of Iowa, and this trend has persisted in the WNBA, despite her team’s slow start with the Fever currently at 3-9 for the season. As the sport’s most popular player, Clark’s presence could have potentially boosted television ratings in Paris and reignited interest in the WNBA.

Shannon Sharpe’s remarks on social media sparked additional discussion. The following tweet from sports news source ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) summed up Sharpe’s criticism:

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“Are we really trying to grow the game? Because this is the most popular women’s basketball player in the world, and it ain’t close… Is that what we’t re ally trying to do?” Shannon Sharpe on Caitlin Clark being left off the Team USA roster.

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Sharpe’s statement questions the logic behind the selection process, suggesting Clark’s immense popularity could have been a valuable asset in promoting women’s basketball globally.

The Controversial Decision

Shannon Sharpe thinks Caitlin Clark's snub from the Olympic team is a missed opportunity for women's basketball- “Are we really trying to grow the game?"  - THE SPORTS ROOM

Shannon Sharpe minced no words when discussing Caitlin Clark’s absence from the Team USA roster. He questioned whether the goal is truly to grow the game. Despite acknowledging that Clark might not be on par with WNBA elites like A’ja Wilson in terms of skill level, Sharpe emphasized what she brings: representation. Her immense popularity in women’s basketball should have warranted inclusion in the Olympic team to draw the highest possible viewership to the sport.

A Once-in-a-Generation Phenomenon

Sharpe highlighted Clark’s unparalleled fame by pointing out that her impact extends beyond the court. The Fever even had to move a game to an NBA arena due to her popularity. This unprecedented phenomenon could have been leveraged during the Olympics, showcasing women’s basketball to a global audience.

 

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