Caitlin Clark is getting her tough “welcome to the league” and it’s healthy for the game, says NBA commissioner

Caitlin Clark is getting her tough “welcome to the league” and it’s healthy for the game, says NBA commissioner

NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently commented on the treatment of Indiana Fever star Caitlin Clark, who was on the receiving end of a hard foul from Chicago’s Chennedy Carter during a 71-70 win for the Fever. The incident involved Carter blindsiding Clark with a shoulder check on an inbound play, which was later upgraded to a Flagrant 1 by the WNBA.

Silver addressed the situation without diving into specifics: “I don’t want to make too big an issue on one particular player and one particular call. But of course, I want to see Caitlin treated fairly and appropriately in the league.”

Chennedy Carter Stands Firm on Foul Against Caitlin Clark

Acknowledging the foul as a “welcome to the league” moment, Silver noted that such incidents are common for rookies. “As a fan, it’s nothing new in basketball that there are ‘welcome to the league’ moments, especially for heralded rookies… I will say it looks like she can take care of herself. She’s a tough player,” he said.

Silver also hinted at larger societal issues at play, including race, in the dynamics within the league. He remarked: “I think ultimately this is really healthy for women’s basketball and the WNBA. It’s generating tremendous additional interest. In fairness to the other players … this didn’t just start this year. Certainly, we are seeing an acceleration of it with Caitlin.”

Rivalries and tough plays good for WNBA’s growth

Carter’s foul has drawn criticism for its perceived intent, as she appeared to deliberately target Clark, who was blindsided and fell to the ground. Addressing this, Silver reiterated his support for WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert’s handling of the situation.

Clark, after the foul, maintained her composure, stating: “I think at this point I know I’m going to take a couple of hard shots a game and that’s what it is. I’m trying not to let it bother me and just stay in the game and stay in what’s important because usually it’s the second person that gets caught if you retaliate.”

Silver praised the interest in Clark and her rivalry with Chicago Sky’s Angel Reese, calling it “very healthy” for women’s basketball. He emphasized that rivalries, whether between clubs or individual players, are ultimately good for the sport. Reflecting on the WNBA’s progress, he said: “If you went back and looked at our original business plan from 28 years ago, we didn’t think it would be such a long timeline to break into the popularity we’re seeing now.”

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