Shaquille O’Neal’s former agent enters the Caitlin Clark debate: She has a bit of a target on her back

Shaquille O’Neal’s former agent enters the Caitlin Clark debate: She has a bit of a target on her back

The agent who negotiated Shaquille O’Neal‘s transfer from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers has given Caitlin Clark key advice for weathering the storm as the Indiana Fever star continues to catch criticism in her debut WNBA season.

The 22-year-old, selected as the overall first pick, finds herself physically targeted on the court as well as in the media and online from fans, journalists and her own peers so Leonard Armato has told her how she should handle it.

Caitlin Clark says she will use Team USA omission as motivation

“Now, as Caitlin Clark moves into the WNBA,” Armato said EssentiallySports FanCast. “Diana Taurasi mentioned that playing against women would be a different experience. I predicted that while she would be successful, she would face many difficulties along the way.

“These difficulties include making the transition to playing against a far more elite breed of players. Everyone is going to be gunning for her because Caitlin Clark has an X on her back. People will want to say they stopped her.

“She has a bit of a target on her back, but she’s a great player and has done so much for women’s sports and basketball. However, the WNBA is the WNBA; you either like the product or you don’t. She’s not going to change it all that much.”

The opening stage of the message essentially says there is nothing she can really do about it and thus, she should just get on with it and she will always be targeted because of who she is and how good she is, but he then offered some sweet advice.

“Remember that even the greatest of all time struggled at the beginning in one way or another,” Armato added. “Their talent was undeniable, but there were often many losses and disappointments. You have to persevere to become truly great in the sport.

“Think about it: it took Michael Jordan six seasons to win a championship. He didn’t start winning right away. It took him a long time to get there, but once he did, you couldn’t take him off the top of the mountain.”

Armato reviews Clark’s impact on the league

Clark’s form, after she shattered the points scoring record in college basketball, continues to see her draw in some incredible crowds for the Indiana Fever, who are now using the Indiana Pacers‘ court instead, such is the demand.

The Gainbridge FieldHouse keeps attracting over 15,000 people and even the game against the Washington Mystics saw 20,000 people cram in to get a look at Clark’s talents, so what does Armato think about her impact on the WNBA?

“The really interesting part about Caitlin in the NCAA championship last year was that it attracted a mass audience,” Armato said. “Basketball fans were excited to see if she could reach her goal and watching her shoot long-range threes.

“It was a thrilling moment for women’s sports and women’s basketball.”

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