WNBA needs to harness star power of Caitlin Clark, says former USMNT star Alexi Lalas

June 7, 2024
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Former U.S. men’s soccer star Alexi Lalas isn’t one to find himself watching professional basketball at any level – let alone the WNBA. 

But he says that’s what Caitlin Clark is doing for the league: getting the attention of those who wouldn’t normally watch a random regular-season game in the middle of May or in early June.

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Alexi Lalas in 2023

Alexi Lalas (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images/File)

Clark’s star power is breathing new life into the league like it never has before. Lalas told Fox News Digital in a recent interview that it’s something the WNBA has to harness instead of some players turning it into “resentment,” which has been on full display in recent games.

“I think there is a real human element to the reaction that we are seeing, and maybe it manifests even more so in sports in that, you know, there’s the same pettiness and [jealousy] and resentment that we have in real life; that can certainly happen in sports,” Lalas said. “I think that you have to have a perspective and a maturity to look at this situation and recognize that while you may have been working you’re a– off before, and you might have the feeling that she is just coming in and hasn’t ‘paid her dues’ or anything like that … I don’t watch basketball, and I sure as hell don’t watch WNBA, and yet I am now finding myself tuning in. That is the power of the stardom that is Caitlin Clark.”

“And not everybody’s going to stay, including me, this will die down. But ultimately, if you are left with more people that came into the tent, I think from a soccer perspective, we talk about this all the time … the last thing we want to do is be exclusionary in terms of that tent.”

Caitlin Clark signs autographs

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever signs autographs for fans after the game against the Chicago Sky on June 1, 2024, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. (Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

BOB COSTAS TALKS CAITLIN CLARK, ANGEL REESE AND RACE IN THE WNBA

Lalas said that even with his immense soccer background, fans, pros and media alike have a tendency to “eat our own.” But when the potential of welcoming new fans into the community rises, only good can come of it if it’s handled the right way.

“The potential exists for more people to come into the tent,” said Lalas, who spoke to Fox News Digital as part of FOX Sports’ Summer of Soccer preview of Copa América and UEFA Euro. “And while many of them will leave, some of them will stay. And so, each moment, if you use it correctly, and you have a maturity to recognize and harness that moment, you’re doing a good thing for the game both on and off the field. 

“And WNBA, I think that this is a moment that they hopefully can recognize is a great opportunity to bring people into the tent that, let’s be honest, have not been there before and, without Caitlin Clark, are not there.”

Clark was on the receiving end of a hard foul from Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter during Saturday’s game. The foul was later upgraded to a flagrant-1 violation. Clark then had a tough game against the New York Liberty.

Caitlin Clark dribbles around a player

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever drives to the basket during the game against the Liberty in New York City on June 2, 2024. (Catalina Fragoso/NBAE via Getty Images)

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The Indiana Fever play the Washington Mystics on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.

Follow Fox News Digital’s sports coverage on X and subscribe to the Fox News Sports Huddle newsletter.





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