Tuesday, May 21, 2024

We Rank A'ja as Better Than Caitlin Clark, but Still Glad Clark will Raise all WNBA Salaries and Deals

At this great moment for women's sports, I am sorry about the controversy regarding A'ja Wilson complaining that Caitlin Clark is getting this attention because of race. Even as an old white guy, I do understand. For the record, way before this issue arose I ranked the greatest 40 college women's basketball players of all time and believe A'ja Wilson was a greater college player than Clark.

In this post, I ranked Wilson as the 5th greatest college player ever and Clark as the 8th greatest college player ever - so on one level I understand the 5th greatest player ever asking why the 8th greatest ever is the one getting the biggest Wilson basketball deal since Michael Jordan. Here are my top 10 with their Value Add Basketball Game cards in the Value Add Basketball Game.

The +7 defense on Clark's card means she is not a good defender in the game, so even though she might be the best offensive player in our all-time great game we still rank seven players as greater all-time once you consider offense and defense.

But if you take a step back, the average guy in the NBA is making $10 million a year and the average WNBA woman until a couple of years ago made $100,000 - in large part because the WNBA has not made money in the past. Blame fans or whatever you want - I am sure I am not the only one who prefers the men's game if I have the choice because I like the game above the rim just as I always preferred women's soccer because of the pace of play without men falling all over the field faking injuries.

But whatever the reason, have Clark come out and fill arenas all over the country and more incredibly draw almost 20 million fans to watch the NCAA title game to unbelievably top the men's title game is good for all women college basketball players. So many more people tuning in to watch her play are more likely to then start following other women players they may never have seen if Clark didn't get them to turn on or come to the game.

Lots of women will make lots more money because of this. I understand Wilson's initial reaction to a player who overall I do not believe was quite as good as her suddenly making much more money. However, race is not the only possible explanation as fans generally like offense more than defense and particular players who can shoot from a long way from the basket. That is why the popularity of Stephen Curry exploded and he still gets three times as many views as the Player of the Year Nikola Jokic. In that case Curry is black and makes shots from another planet and Jokic is white and scores form much closer, just as Clark is white and makes shots from much further way that Wilson usually shoots.

The difference doesn't appear to be race, it appears to be fans have loved seeing really long shots go into the basket ever since the Harlem Globetrotters would shot off with half court shots.

I hope Wilson gets huge deals too now that the ceiling is bursting for women's players.

Our next Value Add Basketball Game between all-time teams will feature Clark's rival Angel Reese from LSU, who incidentally I have down as the 23rd greatest player of all time. I will have her LSU champions facing the Purdue 2003 team.

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