Most of the sports world has maintained a positive and excited mindset about everything Caitlin Clark accomplished at the college basketball level. Even fans who had not watched women's college basketball couldn't help but applaud Clark's greatness. Clark, who was recently drafted by the Indiana Fever, has received some criticism from present and past WNBA players, however.

NBA legends such as Diana Taurasi and Sheryl Swoopes have been hesitant to speak highly of the former Iowa women's basketball star. Taurasi even said she would have selected UConn women's basketball star Paige Bueckers first overall instead of Clark if the two were in the same draft class.

Clark recently made an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show and was asked about the criticism from some WNBA players.

“People are just competitive, like I don’t think it’s anything that’s out of the ordinary,” Clark said. “I feel like it’s things rookies have faced their entire careers, the entire existence of the WNBA.”

Of course, Clark is one of the most hyped rookies in the history of the league. In sports, even the greatest and well-liked stars are going to receive backlash. Typically, though, that backlash comes from fans or analysts. It is interesting that Clark, who has helped grow women's sports alongside other stars such as Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso, has received criticism from some WNBA players.

Nevertheless, Clark does not seem to mind their comments. She is ready for the WNBA challenge.

Caitlin Clark staying focused amid hype

Caitlin Clark poses with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert after she is selected with the number one overall pick to the Indiana Fever in the 2024 WNBA Draft at Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Clark's impact on women's basketball has been immense. She was also asked about the pressure that comes with being one of the faces of women's basketball.

“I don’t feel like any pressure to take it to a place that it’s never been before,” Clark said. “I think that's just going to happen with the way we’re on TV more, with the way people are following from the college game to the WNBA. I think expansion in the WNBA will certainly help, the more teams there are. I mean it’s the most competitive league in the world because there’s not that many spots. There’s 12 teams and not even every team carries 12 players.

“I think that will certainly help, but you gotta bring it every single night because it’s the best of the best. That's what I'm excited for… A lot of those people I idolized growing up. It will be fun.”

As Clark mentioned, rumors of WNBA expansion have been swirling. The excitement around potential expansion is another element of the league's growth in addition to the Caitlin Clark-led 2024 WNBA Draft Class.

The league is in a good spot right now. And in all reality, the WNBA deserves credit because it has improved its marketing throughout the years. Clark's impact will be crucial, but stars such as A'ja Wilson, Candace Parker, and Sabrina Ionescu have helped to draw further interest in recent years.

Now, new WNBA stars like Caitlin Clark, Kamilla Cardoso, Angel Reese, and Cameron Brink will look to help their teams while continuing to grow the sport.