NBA champ credits Caitlin Clark for WNBA’s newfound popularity amid jealousy from ‘old guard’

July 10, 2024
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Two-time NBA champion Mychal Thompson suggests that Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark should get a Jeep endorsement, and it’s all thanks to her biggest critics.

Thompson, the father of new Dallas Mavericks star Klay Thompson, joined OutKick’s “Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich” to talk about Clark and the WNBA’s recent rise in popularity.

Mychal Thompson broadcasts for Lakers

Mychal Thompson participates in the broadcast before the game between the Clippers and Lakers at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Oct. 20, 2022. (Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

“JEEP is an acronym that I’ve come up with about the way she has been treated and not welcomed into the WNBA … the acronym stands for jealousy, envy, egos and pettiness: J-E-E-P, JEEP. That’s the way the women have treated her, especially the old guard, the stars.”

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The Fever drafted Clark with the No. 1 overall pick in April after she completed four years at Iowa University, where she led the Hawkeyes to back-to-back Final Four appearances.

Thompson called Clark the “sole reason” the WNBA has risen in popularity, something he said drives the old guard “crazy.”

The WNBA announced that May was the highest-attended opening month in 26 years and the most-watched start of the season ever across every network.

Clark is not the only high-profile rookie to come into the WNBA this season. Angel Reese has vaulted herself into the rookie of the year conversation with her strong play.

2024 WNBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS: ACES, LIBERTY FAVORED; CLARK, FEVER SURGING

Caitlin Clark dribbles

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever is shown during the game against the Aces in Las Vegas on July 2, 2024. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Clark’s former Iowa teammate, Kate Martin, has played well for the Las Vegas Aces, and Los Angeles Spark’s No. 2 overall pick Cameron Brink was in the midst of a solid rookie season before she tore her ACL last month.

Even with a strong rookie class, Clark has stood out from the crowd. She recorded the WNBA’s first-ever triple-double by a rookie this month in the Fever’s 83-78 victory over the first-place New York Liberty. Clark is averaging 16 points, six rebounds and just under 7.5 assists per game through 22 games this season.

Thompson told OutKick that he has been following Clark’s career since her sophomore year at Iowa, adding that he has never seen this style of play in women’s basketball before. He even went as far as to compare her to NBA greats Pistol Pete Maravich and Steve Nash.

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Caitlin Clark shoots

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever shoots a 3-pointer against the Aces in Las Vegas on July 2, 2024. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“It’s not about her race or her sexual orientation, it’s about her style of play. We have never seen a woman shoot with that kind of range consistently and make the passes in the open court she does,” Thompson said during the interview. “Her court vision is attractive to watch as her shooting range.”

Thompson, 69, was the first overall pick in the 1978 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. He won two NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and currently works as a broadcaster for the team.

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.

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