Amid Nike

Amid Nike’s Caitlin Clark decision sports journalists and WNBA fans wage war of words supporting A’Ja Wilson

The 2024 WNBA Draft’s first overall pick, Caitlin Clark, is expected to receive a lucrative eight-figure endorsement deal, which will include her own signature shoe. Amidst reports of the expected deal, sports journalists and WNBA fans took to social media to call out why Nike does not have a signature shoe deal with A’Ja Wilson.

They debated the marketability of A’Ja Wilson, a former two-time WNBA champion, in comparison to Caitlin Clark, who is yet to debut in the league.

“Why isn’t A’ja Wilson marketable? College grad, National & WNBA champion, Best-selling author, Olympic gold medalist. What is she missing? I’m happy to entertain any substantive ideas,” sports journalist Jemele Hill tweeted on X.

Replying to Hill’s tweet, a WNBA fan replied with a simple case:

“She’s not as marketable. Let’s not make this a race thing cause it’s not that at all”

Many other WNBA fans also shared their opinions over the argument, bringing out both support and justification for A’Ja Wilson not yet receiving a signature shoe deal with Nike.

“A’ja Wilson is a winner, what’s more marketable than winning. She won in college and the pros. If being a winner isn’t marketable then I don’t know what marketable is,” an X user tweeted in support of Wilson.

An X user's argument in support of WilsonAn X user’s argument in support of Wilson

“She hasn’t done anything to catch anyones attention. Her WNBA accolades have been done by others. Shes not special. Caitlin Clark is. She was being talked about during NBA all star events. She broke the NCAA scoring record. Clark’s play fueled attention and her marketable demand,” an X user justified.

An X user justifies the dealAn X user justifies the deal

An X user's argument against Wilson's supportersAn X user’s argument against Wilson’s supporters

An X user's support for WilsonAn X user’s support for Wilson

A’Ja Wilson boasts the accolades of a tier-one player in the league, which includes two WNBA championships, two league MVPs, one Finals MVP and five WNBA All-Star selections. She also has various accolades representing Team USA at the Olympics and FIBA world championships.

On the other hand, Caitlin Clark has brought a lot of hype and attention to the league even before she was drafted. The point guard from Iowa was highly anticipated to secure the No.1 pick in the draft, which she did.

A star on and off the court, Clark scored more points than any other player, male or female, in college basketball history. Considered one of the greatest collegiate players of all time, Clark is the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer and a two-time national player of the year.

How many WNBA players have a signature shoe deal aside from Caitlin Clark?

Only three active WNBA players have a signature shoe deal including Caitlin Clark. New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu has a signature shoe deal with Nike, with the company recently releasing their first collaboration shoe, the “Nike Sabrina 1.”

Moreover, Ionescu’s teammate at the Liberty, Breanna Stewart, has a signature shoe deal with Puma. The collaboration has produced two shoes to date, the “Puma Stewie 1,” and the “Puma Stewie 2,” with a third one coming soon.

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Edited by Nicolaas Ackermann