Ahead of the WNBA Draft, 2 players have thrown a little shade at Caitlin Clark. Why?

The WNBA Draft for 2024 is upon us. As Caitlin Clark will be the first pick, Diana Taurasi and Breanna Stewart rained on the parade a bit.

Diana Taurasi and Breanna Stewart are two former No. 1 picks who have won two Olympic gold medals together. They may soon call Caitlin Clark a “teammate.” | Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Some WNBA players seem to be throwing shade at Caitlin Clark ahead of the 2024 WNBA Draft. The Iowa Hawkeyes’ women’s basketball star is the presumed first pick in this weekend’s Draft.

Indiana has that first pick. Clark is already making housing arrangements in Indianapolis.

Yet some current WNBA players seem to be throwing shade at Clark. That includes some gay and lesbian players, like Diana Taurasi and Breanna Stewart.

“Reality is coming,” Taurasi told ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt about Clark’s success in college. “You look superhuman playing against some 18-year-olds but you’re going to come play with some grown women that have been playing professional basketball for a long time.”

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Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese are ineligible for the WNBA draft. That's wrong. - The Washington Post

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Really? A three-time NCAA Division I National Champion discredited competing against other college-age women?

It felt like a truly odd, disrespectful moment from Taurasi.

The reality is, Taurasi in 2024 is nearing the end of her incredible career. Three WNBA titles. Two Finals MVPs. In 2021, she was called the greatest WNBA player of all time. And… she’s much closer to the end of her career than the beginning.

A record number of viewers flocked to ESPN to watch Caitlin Clark and her Iowa Hawkeyes play South Carolina in the Women’s Championship game. The 18.87 million people who watched the game made it the largest TV audience to ever watch an American women’s basketball game.

South Carolina wins NCAA women's championship game over Iowa, Caitlin Clark | CNN

That includes all of Taurasi’s games, as well as every game ever played in the WNBA.

Taurasi’s team, the Phoenix Mercury, pounced on the moment and marketed their game against Indiana (Clark’s likely new team) as “The GOAT vs. The Rook.”

There’s no “walking it back” now.

Make no mistake: The Mercury are doing that because more people in 2024 will want to watch “The ROOK” than “The GOAT.”

Breanna Stewart, who had the good fortune of playing for Geno Auriemma and UConn at the height of the program’s success and won four NCAA titles, hit out at Clark’s lack of National Championships.

“You are going to look 10 years back and you are going to see all the records that she has broken, points and stuff like that, but anybody knows your goal when you play college basketball is to win a national championship,” Stewart said. “So you need one.”

The two women have Olympic gold medals in common, winning two together for Team USA in 2016 and 2020. Though Taurasi has also won a few more.

Taurasi and Stewart also have something specific in common with Clark: They were also the No. 1 pick in their respective WNBA Drafts.

They also found immediate success in the WNBA. Taurasi was an All-WNBA First-Team her rookie season, and both of them were an All-Star their second season. By their fourth season, they had each one a WNBA Championship.

Given they each clearly took their college success and immediately translated it into success in the WNBA, it makes it even more odd they would feel the need to share these sentiments about Clark hours ahead of her National Championship Game and days ahead of the WNBA Draft.

Caitlin Clark's draft dilemma: Will the Iowa star lose money by joining the WNBA? | Marca

At the same time, of course the WNBA level of play is different from college. And of course, every player wants to win a National Championship. Of course.

It just remains odd these two women felt the need to throw some shade ahead of Clark’s incredible week.

Personally, I find “The GOAT” conversations to be pretty stupid. Different teams, different times, different circumstances. I like what Dawn Staley said: Clark is “A GOAT.”

She clearly is. She’s one of the greatest.

And so are Taurasi and Stewart.

Though, throwing shade at Clark certainly doesn’t help their case.

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