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Is Caitlin Clark behind WNBA's new popularity? Angel Reese says it's more than 'just one person'

Chuck Schilken, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

Chicago Sky rookie Angel Reese had a statement game Thursday against the New York Liberty, contributing 13 points and nine rebounds to her team's 90-81 win and going viral during the game for picking the pocket of reigning WNBA MVP Brenna Stewart

After the game, Reese took to X (formerly Twitter) to make a different kind of statement.

"And that's on getting a WIN in a packed [arena] not just cause of one player on our charter flight. #SKYTOWN," the former Louisiana State star wrote after her team improved to 2-1 while dropping New York to 4-1.

The since-deleted post seems to be a commentary on the notion that WNBA rookie Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever alone deserves the credit for the recent surge in popularity of women's basketball and for the WNBA's decision to use league-wide charter flights for the first time this season.

That idea came up on Wednesday's episode of LeBron James and JJ Redick's "Mind the Game" podcast.

"I don't want to call it hatred, but there's definitely, like, a dislike or a vitriol coming her way [from] other players," Redick said of Clark.

 

James said: "The one thing that I love that she's bringing to her sport, more people want to watch. More people want to tune in. I saw for the first time that they had a chartered plane, for the first time in their league history they flew private. That should be celebrated in its own right. For anyone in sports that's flown commercial or flown charter, that should be celebrated. And it's because of Caitlin Clark."

"Don't get it twisted, don't get it f–ed up. Caitlin Clark is the reason why a lot of great things is gonna happen for the WNBA."

On TNT's coverage of the NBA's Western Conference finals Wednesday night, Charles Barkley said James was "100% right" with his comments and called out WNBA players who are acting "petty" toward Clark.

"Y'all should be thanking that girl for getting y'all ass private charters, all the money and visibility she's bringing to the WNBA," Barkley said. "Don't be petty like dudes. Listen, what she's accomplished, give her her flowers."

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