WNBA coach says 'greatness' of Black and brown people not 'celebrated' as much as those who are White

Several days ago, Las Vegas Aces head coach Becky Hammon imported the media to “back off” any notion that WNBA veterans dislike Caitlin Clark.

“We love Caitlin Clark. I think she’s amazing. I watch every time I possibly could. Our league loves her,” Hammon began.

She then took a swipe at a race narrative — her own star player in A’ja Wilson said that race was a “huge thing” in Clark’s popularity.

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“Even the Black and White thing — knock it off. It’s not there. It’s not there. So shut down the noise, and Black and White, what is she, 22? She’s a 22-year-old woman with a lot of pressure. She’s not perfect. She’s a rookie in this league. Back off,” Hammon said.

Many took that as a swipe at Wilson, who had actually been standing right next to Hammon during that plea. Hammon was asked about those comments, with a reporter saying it had been “miscontrued a couple times.”

“It’s construed as some of our minority Black and brown women are hating on her because she’s white, and that is not the case. Let’s take Caitlin out of the picture. What I think is upsetting… It’s not about Caitlin. Give her her flowers. She’s done stuff that no man or woman, Black or White, has ever done in college basketball. Give that woman her flowers,” Hammon said.

“But what it does is, it has highlighted how Black and brown greatness has not been celebrated or valued as much. That’s what I was talking about.”

Those recent comments did seem to echo what Wilson said earlier this month.

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“It really is because you can be top-notch at what you are as a Black woman, but yet maybe that’s something that people don’t want to see,” Wilson said at the time. “They don’t see it as marketable, so it doesn’t matter how hard I work. It doesn’t matter what we all do as Black women, we’re still going to be swept underneath the rug. That’s why it boils my blood when people say it’s not about race because it is.”

Ahead of her game Friday, Clark was asked about the “narratives around the attention” she’s gotten “versus some of the vets that have been in this league for a long time.”

“To be honest, I’m not really on social media. I don’t read that,” Clark said. “This is my job. My job is to compete and play basketball every single day. I think the more attention we can get on every team around this league, that’s only going to help me get better and better.

“My job is just to continue to show up and help this team get better. We’re fighting for our first win. That’s my main focus.”

Clark and the Fever earned their first win on Friday night, thanks to the rookie’s clutch threes down the stretch in front of a star-studded crowd in Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena against the Sparks.

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