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It’s not too late to jump on the unstoppable Caitlin Clark bandwagon

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18th February, 2024

Every now and then, an athlete comes along that transcends their sport. They become a household name, ‘appointment viewing’, and generate the type of curiosity that brings in millions of casual fans, who may otherwise have no interest in that particular sport.

These types of athletes don’t come into our lives very frequently, and sometimes not even for very long. Yet when they do, their magnetic presence creates the attention, headlines and social media buzz normally reserved for rock stars.

Caitlin Clark is one of said athletes.

For just over a year, she’s emerged as an absolute sensation, breaking down barriers and becoming a major global sporting story.

However, she may not have penetrated the Australian sporting consciousness quite as much, so following is a quick cheat-sheet.

Clark is an American college basketball player, for the Iowa Hawkeyes. As a senior, she’s currently in her fourth year of college ball, and has racked up an impressive array of eye-popping statistics and achievements.

She has 11 games over 40 points, with a career high of 49. She’s averaged 28 points in her career, and 32 points as a senior. She has 11 career triple-doubles (double figures in three different categories in a single game); the second-most in women’s college basketball history.

Last week, she broke the record to become the all-time leading scorer in Division 1 women’s basketball. Which, by any measure, is a stunning achievement.


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However, as incredible as all that may sound, numbers alone don’t make an athlete unique or memorable. What makes Clark transcendent – and a borderline celebrity – is the way she goes about her business, and the fact she’s not a giant or a ridiculous athlete.

Standing at ‘just’ six feet tall, Clark does a lot of her damage by hitting insane three-point shots from extremely far out. They’re the type of shots that turn up in your social media feed, because they make your jaw drop, and everyone is sharing them with the same mix of awe and disbelief.

While I’m loath to do the banal behaviour of comparing her to a male player, the truth is that there is a perfect point of reference that will enable the majority of people to understand how she plays, and why she captures so much attention.

The manner in which she effortlessly pulls up off the dribble to drain a 30-foot three-pointers is eerily similar to Steph Curry, the Golden State Warriors superstar. To be mentioned in the same sentence as the greatest shooter in history is no mean feat, but Clark has earned it. Plain and simple.

Steph Curry celebrates a three-point basket..

Steph Curry celebrates a three-pointer. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)


It’s not just her athletic feats that make her utterly compelling, though. From a personality point-of-view, Clark has a sense of the moment, and is a born entertainer. She completely grasps what some of her shots do, in terms of creating or disrupting momentum. She’s the queen of the “loud three” and the “silencing three”, enabling her to rev up her home crowd, or hush the opposition’s.

She’s also got a little bit of spice in her. She’ll happily engage in a bit of trash-talking. She once cheekily and overtly ‘ignored’ an opponent, daring them to shoot. She’s partial to some ‘banter’ with opposition crowds. And she lets out all of her emotion after hitting big shots.

Bottom line, she’s the complete package when it comes to being a sporting superstar.

You don’t have to take my word for it, though. Curry himself said last week that “Caitlin is special,” and he’s far from the only one that feels that way. Other athletes and celebrities are only too happy to publicly express their unbridled admiration for Clark.

Her impact on women’s college basketball has been dubbed ‘The Caitlin Clark Effect’.

Clark and Iowa started their season by playing in front of 55,646 fans in Kinnick Stadium, setting the all-time attendance record for women’s basketball. Every Iowa road game this season has been a sell-out. TV viewership of Clark’s games have broken records for women’s college basketball. And her jersey continues to be a hot item for fans to purchase.

Caitlin Clark celebrates breaking the NCAA women’s scoring record. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)


To commemorate her breaking the all-time scoring record, Nike had T-shirts created that said, “You break it, you own it”. The shirts were worn by her teammates, but will soon be on sale… until they undoubtedly sell out.

Which is another salient point: she’s marketable, as evidenced by her already having sponsorship deals that include Nike, Gatorade and State Farm.

It’s clear something super special is happening. In fact, we’re way past that stage. However, it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon. Iowa still has four regular season games left, and then the Big Ten Tournament.

After that will be Clark and Iowa’s pursuit of the women’s college championship during the NCAA Tournament, which begins in mid-to-late March. This is when Clark’s popularity will hit fever pitch. Iowa lost in the final last season, but if they make it again, one can expect more TV viewership records to be broken.

Clark’s run won’t end there. In all likelihood, she will then head to the WNBA, where all eyes will be on her to see if she can continue to deliver incredible performances at the professional level. The opposition will be stronger, faster and taller, plus she’ll have a bullseye on her back, but it would be a brave soul that bets against her and her talent.

Bizarrely, she may even come back for another year of college. Due to the pandemic and an interrupted freshman year, she’s surprisingly eligible to play one more season, if she chooses.

Either way, the Caitlin Clark journey is far from over, and there’s plenty more seats left on this hurtling bandwagon. So jump on. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.


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