Kevin Durant Gets Real With Caitlin Clark Over Olympics Snub

Caitlin Clark

Getty Fever guard Caitlin Clark on May 24, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.

Kevin Durant is one of the most accomplished Olympians Team USA Basketball has ever seen and recently used his credentials to send a message to Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark.

The women’s side chose not to name Clark among the 12 players headed to Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympics, which will take place in late July and early August. Instead, Team USA opted to go with more experienced and accomplished talent at the WNBA level — a league in which Clark has played only 16 career games as of Wednesday, June 19.

Durant took what could be described as a ‘tough but fair’ approach when discussing Clark’s absence from the Olympic roster during an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

“I still think there’s proper steps you have to take in our world to be considered an Olympian,” Durant said. “I think she’s definitely going to be on one of these teams going forward, but for right now there’s better candidates out there I think. But Caitlin’s just gotta continue to keep showing up every day.”

Caitlin Clark’s WNBA Inexperience Likely Played Role in Absence From U.S. Olympic Team

Caitlin Clark, Fever

GettyCaitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever.

Shams Charania of The Athletic was among the first to report that Clark would not be a part of the original 12 on Team USA.

“Indiana Fever rookie sensation Caitlin Clark is expected to be left off the 12-player Team USA women’s basketball roster for the upcoming Summer Olympics, according to sources,” Charania posted to X on June 8.

In the full story on The Athletic, author Ben Pickman noted that Clark’s absence isn’t a surprise based on the history of the USA Women’s Basketball Team.

The reality is the U.S. women’s basketball team, winners of seven consecutive Olympic gold medals, is the strongest collection of basketball talent in the world. Many of them have played together in the WNBA or in Olympic cycles. Clark, because of her college season, never participated at a senior national team camp this cycle, perhaps creating some questions about how she would fit in on the court.

It’s also hard to imagine her slow start to the WNBA season didn’t impact the decision. … Still, in leaving Clark off the roster, the Olympic committee appears to be accepting lower television ratings than if Clark was on the team.

Caitlin Clark May Have Chance to Play for Team USA as Alternate

Caitlin Clark

GettyCaitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever.

In the The Athletic’s initial report, Charania suggested the committee was likely to name Clark an alternate. That means she may get a chance to play if anyone drops out due to injury or other reasons.

“One of the questions that remains unanswered is whether [Chelsea] Gray will be available for the Olympics. She suffered a lower-leg injury in Game 3 of the 2023 WNBA Finals and is yet to play this WNBA season,” Pickman wrote. “However, she participated at the U.S. Olympic training camp in Cleveland and, if healthy, she likely will be the starting point guard. In theory, Clark potentially could replace Gray or sub in if any other injuries occur before the Olympics.”

An updated version of the story included a note explaining that Team USA won’t announce any alternates ahead of time. The full list of participants as of now is as follows:

Read More