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Photo Credit: Sporting News

Caitlin Clark deserves the hype for her basketball prowess (Op-Ed)

Caitlin Clark is one of the most well-recognized basketball players in the U.S., not only meeting and exceeding certain records on the court, but blowing them out of the water. 

As the University of Iowa’s guard, she made headlines by breaking the NCAA all-time scoring record by putting up 49 points against Michigan. This brought her total career points to 3,527, exceeding Kelsey Plum, a player for the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA.

Clark’s rise to national recognition and prominence began with her record-setting performance in the NCAA women’s tournament in 2023. During this, she became the first player to record a triple-double, or “the achievement of a double-digit total in three of five statistical categories (assists, blocks, points, rebounds, and steals) over the course of a single game”, with 40 or more points.

With longstanding success leading back to a 6th-grade full commitment to the sport, quickly excelling to her competing against high school seniors when she was as young as 13, it’s not surprising that Clark has made her mark on the sport. 

All that being said, what’s not to root for?

In a 60 second TikTok posted by user philipw2.0 in December, credited to ESPN, a large group of young men are filmed in the audience stands at one of Clark’s games, chanting the word “overrated” and expressing their dislike for the attention and recognition that Clark has received as a result of her performance. Each clip after this shows Clark sinking 3-pointers, showing extreme stamina under pressure, blocking effectively, and making every single shot with the video eventually panning back to a noticeably more tame crowd.

One has to ask if this kind of behavior would occur if a male basketball player put up these same statistics, or if it has, whether it was a result of a competitive nature, a loyalty to an opposing team, or jealousy over an exceptional performance on the court. From the tone of the video, it’s not likely that any of these reasons are the cause for their actions. 

We must begin to hold audiences to a higher standard and give credit where credit is due for one of the brightest young athletes in the game. Caitlin Clark’s undeniable talent demands the respect she rightfully deserves, transcending any baseless criticisms or attempts to undermine her extraordinary skill and dedication to the sport.


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