Sheryl Swoopes is cautioning against the excessive hype surrounding Caitlin Clark, employing her own set of statistics to underscore her viewpoint. In a recent appearance on the “Gil’s Arena” podcast hosted by former NBA star Gilbert Arenas, the four-time WNBA champion and three-time WNBA MVP downplayed Clark’s achievements, asserting that a record should only be considered “legitimate” if the player surpasses it in the same timeframe as the previous record holder.
Clark is on the cusp of becoming the all-time leading scorer in Division I women’s college basketball history, needing just 66 points to surpass Kelsey Plum’s record of 3,527 points. Swoopes contended that Clark has played longer than Plum, which is factually incorrect.
Swoopes argued, “Kelsey Plum set that record in four years. Well, Caitlin should have broken that record in four years. But because there was a Covid year and another year — you know what I mean? She’s already had an extra year to break that record, so is it truly a broken record?”
Arenas concurred, suggesting that the current college game should be treated as a separate entity due to the option for student-athletes to play up to six years using redshirt years and the Covid-19 waiver from 2020-21 for an additional season. Swoopes seemed unaware that Clark, a senior, could potentially return for a fifth year.
In addition to this, Swoopes presented fabricated statistics, expressing skepticism about how Clark’s game would translate to the WNBA, asserting that she wouldn’t be able to take 40 shots a game, which is far from Clark’s actual averages.
Swoopes also erroneously claimed that Clark, at 25, was playing against 20-year-olds, when in fact, Clark had just turned 22. Social media rightfully criticized Swoopes and Arenas, with Iowa Women’s Basketball responding by sharing accurate statistics about Clark.
It’s astonishing that Swoopes and Arenas discussed Clark extensively without even knowing the stage of her college career. While having an opinion is acceptable, Swoopes’ use of inaccurate statistics painted an unprepared and embarrassing picture.
Clark’s significant impact on women’s college basketball, as evidenced by recent attendance numbers, deserves acknowledgment, even if Swoopes may not consider her the best player of all time.