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“NBA Post Michael Jordan”: JJ Redick Compares Caitlin Clark to Legendary Athletes, Deems Her Beneficial for the WNBA

Satagni Sikder
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"NBA Post Michael Jordan": JJ Redick Compares Caitlin Clark to Legendary Athletes, Deems Her Beneficial for the WNBA

The Indiana Fever selected Caitlin Clark as their #1 overall pick yesterday in what was probably the most anticipated Draft in WNBA history. JJ Redick went live on his YouTube Channel right after the conclusion of the first round of the Draft to reveal his thoughts on what he deemed to be a historic moment for basketball. The former NBA star tried to record the impact that Clark’s superstardom has induced on Women’s basketball in the past two years or so. He also likened the arrival of the former Iowa Hawkeyes star in the WNBA to seminal events in the NBA that were triggered by the exploits of a select few superstars.

The 2024 WNBA Draft was a mere formality from Clark’s perspective because her fate had been sealed the moment she declared for this year’s Draft. However, Redick tried to inform his fans about the magnitude of the event they had just witnessed. The 39-year-old believed that the 2024 WNBA Draft will be etched in basketball history alongside other memorable events that changed basketball forever. He likened Clark’s arrival in the WNBA to the rise of the likes of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson, who changed the direction of the NBA with their superstardom.

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Caitlin Clark is a media driver. She is a ratings driver. I think about the NBA, post Magic and Larry, NBA post Michael Jordan…There are certain athletes that drive the sport more than others…This is important for the WNBA,” Redick said. The ESPN analyst underlined the fact that stars drive eyeballs to basketball despite the game being a team sport. He pointed out that the immense popularity and appeal of some stars help the league to expand its business by attracting more attention.

Redick likened the situation of Clark to that of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson, whose superstardom helped the league expand globally. Therefore, Clark is also set to benefit the WNBA not only from a financial standpoint by bringing in more sponsorships and endorsements, but also by improving the product they have to offer to the consumer. Redick also pointed out that the WNBA Commissioner announced the inclusion of two more teams in the WNBA just after Clark’s arrival in the league. This is in line with the league increasing the number of teams after witnessing the meteoric rise of superstars like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.

Caitlin Clark can end the pay issues in the WNBA

The WNBA has struggled to pay its players for as long as it has existed. While top NBA players rack up tens of millions of dollars per year, the highest-paid WNBA players still make less than a quarter of a million. The disparity in pay is mostly attributed to the disparity in viewership between the two leagues.

Well, Caitlin Clark could very well break that glass ceiling. The viewership numbers for the Iowa vs South Carolina 2024 NCAA Final game (18.9 million) surpassed not only the Men’s March Madness Final game (14.8 million), but the 2023 NBA Finals (11.6 million) as well, per Nielsen. Therefore, as Redick pointed out, stars drive viewership numbers by excelling over their peers. And the WNBA just got a really big one.

About the author

Satagni Sikder

Satagni Sikder

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Satagni Sikder is the Lead Editor of the NBA Division at The SportsRush. Satagni is an experienced NBA reporter with over 350 published articles to his name. He has also led the NBA team of another popular media company previously. Satagni holds a Master's Degree in English from a reputed University and has always been fascinated by the faculty of language to translate ideas into beautiful and powerful creations. He is a dedicated student of the NBA and presents a fresh perspective of the sport to the readers. Satagni's articles are handcrafted for diehard hoop fans and basketball aficionados.

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