LeBron James, Charles Barkley Come To Caitlin Clark’s Defense Against Naysayers
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 15: Caitlin Clark poses with WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert after being selected first overall pick by the Indiana Fever during the 2024 WNBA Draft at Brooklyn Academy of Music on April 15, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Basketball legends LeBron James and Charles Barkley came to the defense of Caitlin Clark against naysayers after her new team fell to 0-5 with Wednesday night’s loss to the Seattle Storm.

During TNT’s “Inside the NBA” pregame show, host Barkley reacted to the backlash against Clark — who was picked number 1 overall in the 2024 WNBA draft — and said “You women out there, y’all petty, man.” He also talked about the comments James made on the “Mind the Game podcast when he slammed the criticism against the rookie of the Indiana Fever team.

“LeBron, you’re 100% right on these girls hating on Caitlin Clark,” Barkley said. “Y’all petty, girls. I expect men to be petty because we’re the most insecure group in the world.”

“Y’all should be thanking that girl for getting y’all a** private charters, all the money and visibility she’s bringing to the WNBA,” he added.

James — drafted No. 1 overall in the NBA draft in 2003 — said he’s been where Caitlin is now and offered her support, saying that the best thing she could do was put on blinders and keep working, calling the criticism “the weirdest thing in the world.”

“My advice to Caitlin, and my advice to anyone that comes in with this level of notoriety, out-of-this-world expectation, whatever the case may be, be a horse, man,” James said on the podcast. “The Kentucky Derby. Put your blinders on, go to work, show up to work, punch your clock in, prepare yourself, work on your game, work on your craft.”

“Kind of keep your mouth shut and just learn from the vets,” he added. “When they ask, voice your opinion if they want your opinion early on because everybody is looking for you to say anything and they’re gonna splice it and cut it and make it a negative thing.”

“The one thing I love that she’s bringing to her sport: More people want to watch,” James continued. “More people want to tune in. … Don’t get it twisted, don’t get it f**ked up. Caitlin Clark is the reason why a lot of great things is gonna happen for the WNBA. … I’m rooting for Caitlin because I’ve been in that seat before. I’ve walked that road before. I hope she kills.”

Criticism of Clark has come from all over, including outside the sports world with “The View” cohost Sunny Hostin saying the WNBA player benefits from “pretty privilege.”

“I do think that there is a thing called pretty privilege,” Hostin said. ‘There is a thing called white privilege. There is a thing called tall privilege, and we have to acknowledge that…But I do think that she is more relatable to more people because she’s white, because she’s attractive, and unfortunately, there still is that stigma against the LGBTQ+ community.”

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