Final Team USA Roster Proves Cheryl Reeve Hates Caitlin Clark More Than She Loves Women’s Basketball

Cheryl Reeve, Team USA, Caitlin Clark
David Butler II-USA TODAY SportsCredit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Caitlin Clark is possibly the biggest name in all of sports right now. It’s probably the first time in my 35 year history on this earth where I can remember a female athlete taking over the sports world to the degree she has.

Of course, female athletes have had their moments. But most of them have come from Olympic sports like gymnastics, figure skating, swimming and track. Women’s basketball had Maya Moore, Sheryl Swoopes and Lisa Leslie, names that lifted the female game to new heights during their time.

Caitlin Clark has star power that women’s sports has never seen before

Locally, we saw that with Lindsay Whalen, especially while she was leading the University of Minnesota to a Final Four back in 2004. But never, ever, has women’s sports seen an athlete that raises an entire sport… hell, an entire gender of athletes like Caitlin Clark has.

There is no way to calculate how many little girls around the world will now try basketball because of Clark. Many of which will fall in love with the game, but only because they first fell in love with her. Caitlin Clark is pretty much the Taylor Swift of the women’s basketball world.

For example, the 0-12 Washington Mystics had to move their game vs Clark’s Indiana Fever this week from a 4,000 seat arena to a 20,000 seat arena, to help fill demand for tickets. The extra 16,000 seats sold out in 30 minutes.

How did Clark payoff the 20,000 people in attendance (a 17-year WNBA record) who were all there to see her? Oh, she put up 30 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. The Fever won 85-83.

Related: Paige Bueckers Chose UConn Over Being MN’s Caitlin Clark… But Don’t Tell That to the Internet

But the real winners were the Mystics, Capital One Arena and the WNBA, for hosting possibly the largest organic revenue generating regular season game in league history. It’s the type of thing that doesn’t happen in any sport for any player. Men, women… it doesn’t matter. That sort of fanfare is unheard of.

But this sort of thing isn’t even surprising anymore. Whenever Caitlin Clark is involved, history is going to be made and an unhinged amount of interest is going to be generated. And when there is unhinged amounts of interest being generated, the dollar signs follow, and that is undoubtedly the case with Clark.

Cheryl Reeve leaves Caitlin Clark off Team USA roster

So what was much more surprising than Clark setting another attendance record, was when news started breaking that she was going to be left of the 2024 Team USA women’s basketball Olympic roster, which became official on Saturday.

That’s right, women’s basketball, whose leaders have consistently begged, scolded and downright guilted sports fans into thinking they didn’t care enough. Those same people who demand that NBA owners invest more money into the WNBA, who expect TV networks to put their games in primetime even though nobody watches…

Those same people are now choosing an Olympic backseat to just about every other sport on the 2024 Paris roster. They had a chance to lead Olympic coverage in this country and exponentially grow the game they claim to love so much, at an international level.

They could have had the cameras and paparazzi. The massive crowds of fans and media members crowding their team bus every time it stopped somewhere. They could have had the lines of little girls begging for autographs and crying as they walked by. Instead, they made the conscious decision to be mostly non-existent while in France later this summer.

Why? Jealousy, envy, bias… take your pick. While the WNBA should be welcoming Caitlin Clark into their league with open arms, they have turned a cold shoulder to their first real superstar. Barstool founder, Dave Portnoy, pretty much nailed it on Saturday, after hearing the news (transcript below).

“These women, and I love women, I’m a pro woman guy, [but] they complain and they cry about equal rights, equal wages, blah blah blah blah. Hey dummies, for the first time in the history of basketball, you have arguably a player who is the most popular player in the world. You could argue, right now, Caitlin Clark is the most talked about, discussed, most popular, most puts asses in the seats, single basketball player in the world. You could argue that.”

“And you leave her off the Olympics team? It’s not only a showcase for her, it’s for the sport and the other WNBA players who are on this team. How dumb, how brain dead, how idiotic do the people running this thing have to be? It’s one thing after another with her. The business part of my brain is like… These people, whoever it is, I don’t ever want to hear you complain about flying commercial or not getting salaries or this that. You’re too dumb, you’re too dumb, you have a cash cow.”

“Women’s basketball would be like the number one thing people watch [during the Olympics], with Caitlin Clark. As it is, I would rather watch grass grow, I’d rather watch paint dry, I’d rather watch dirt just be moved around. If she’s there, it’s appointment TV. You people, whoever did this, take your brain, put it in a museum and study it for how dumb you are.”

Dave Portnoy on Caitlin Clark being left off the Team USA women’s basketball roster

Current players are targeting Clark during games and in press conferences. Former players are talking down to those who bring her up, as the next great in women’s basketball. Oh, and opposing coaches might be the worst of all. For whatever reason, it seems most of the WNBA sees Clark as a threat instead of the ticket, which makes no sense.

And leading that anti-Clark cause is Minnesota Lynx president of basketball operations and head coach, Cheryl Reeve, who moonlights as Team USA head coach and their main talent evaluator. Here’s what she tweeted during the WNBA preseason, after the league social media account dare spotlight Clark’s game instead of the Lynx.

Read More: Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve Mad at WNBA for Spotlighting Caitlin Clark, Indiana Fever

Not convinced? Take the above tweet however you want. Reeve has made it very clear how she feels about the Caitlin Clark craze more than once.

The most laughable part about this is that Reeve has been one of the lead drum beaters and guilt trippers, calling for more attention to be paid to women’s basketball (see the bottom of this article). No matter the cost.

Now, here is an opportunity to grow the women’s game at a level the sport has never seen before. More money, more popularity, it’s literally sitting there, one common sense decision away. And what does Reeve do? SHE says no, instead choosing personal vendettas over growing the game she claims to love so much. It’s hypocrisy at the highest level.

Reeve won’t be the only one who takes blame for leaving Clark off Team USA. She is aided by an Olympic committee that is made up of those who have competed against Clark. No Hawkeye or Fever coaches are included on the Team USA Olympic committee or staff.

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley, whose team beat Iowa in the National Championship this season, along with former Lynx star (now LSU assistant) Seimone Augustus and Connecticut Sun president Jennifer Rizzotti are among those with the most pull. But Cheryl Reeve, as head coach and a WNBA President of Basketball Operations, has final say.

Now, you can listen to what some WNBA writers are echoing, which are the excuses that Reeve and Team USA officials are making. They’re saying that Clark isn’t good enough to be on the 2024 Team USA roster, that she has to wait her turn. Or, my personal favorite, that she wouldn’t get enough playing time to make her rabid fanbase happy…

But all of that is nonsense. There is no logical reason not to have Clark on that roster. Team USA women haven’t lost an Olympic game since 1992. They are 70-3 in their history and haven’t lost a FIBA World Cup matchup since 2006. They pretty much never lose and beat most teams by 50 points.

International women’s basketball is still closer to what it was like in the 1990s for men’s basketball, back when The Dream Team faced other countries who were just starting to find their footing in the basketball world.

Related: Psst… Caitlin Clark is a Closet Minnesota Lynx Fan

So if you think keeping Caitlin Clark, one of the greatest young players in league history, off the roster may have been the difference between winning and losing for the US this summer, then you are kidding yourself.

This happened because the people leading the team and women’s basketball in the year 2024 — especially Minnesota Lynx and Team USA head decision maker, Cheryl Reeve — are giving into their own jealousy, envy and bias, instead of leaning into growth and business. Dumb.

So where is this energy at, Cheryl? Funny, we don’t see a lot of these tweets anymore for some reason…

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