Sheryl Swoopes addresses controversial Caitlin Clark comments: ‘I made a mistake’

Sheryl Swoopes said that she has spoken to Iowa guard Caitlin Clark to address her controversial comments on Clark’s record-breaking season.

“A couple of weeks ago, I reached out to (LSU’s Angel Reese) and had a really good conversation with Angel over the phone and sent a message to Caitlin. She responded. She and I went back and forth,” Swoopes said on Sunday’s Baylor-Texas Tech broadcast. “I won’t share what she said, I’ll leave that to her if she wants to share. But I will say, what I said to her was, ‘I made a mistake in saying it was your fifth year when it is your fourth.’

“I have nothing but respect for what she has done for the game. If she wants to share what her response was and how that conversation went, I’ll leave that to her. But it was a really good conversation.”

On the “Gil’s Arena” show a few weeks ago, Swoopes, when asked about Clark breaking the Division I career scoring record previously held by Kelsey Plum, misstated that Clark was doing so in her fifth year.

Clark is a fourth-year player (these comments were made before Clark broke the record last week). She also said that Clark takes “about 40 shots a game.” Clark has attempted 22.7 field goals per game this season.

The comments created a stir after making the rounds on social media. That conversation was heightened when a handful of Iowa fans who sat courtside during a recent game wore shirts that read: “Don’t Be A Sheryl.” Many within the women’s basketball community came to the defense of four-time WNBA champion Swoopes, including Reese — who had her own viral moment with Clark during the 2023 NCAA title game — who tweeted, “I want to be like @airswoopes22.”

What those viral clips didn’t show was the part of the conversation where Josiah Johnson said that this is Clark’s fourth season at Iowa. Gilbert Arenas said, “So these stats matter, next year’s stats — that should just be, we don’t count that.” Swoopes responded, “That is true.”

Swoopes was also asked about Clark’s transition to the WNBA during the show.

“Will Caitlin Clark be a good pro? Absolutely. Will Caitlin Clark come into the WNBA and do what she’s doing right now immediately? Absolutely not. Not going to happen,” she said.

Before making that statement, Swoopes referenced previous comments she made while on the show in October. During that segment, she said that she thought Reese’s dominance would take a few seasons to transition to the WNBA.

On both the October show and this recent episode, Swoopes addressed the challenges all rookies have in making the jump because of the talent level, how few roster spots there are in the WNBA and how those roster spots are largely occupied by veterans.

“I do think — those two players — not only will get there,” Swoopes said about Clark and Reese, “but they will be helluva WNBA players. They will get there. But more than that, their popularity, I think will absolutely be good for the league and bring in fans that the league hasn’t had before. And that is something the league needs right now.”

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(Photo: Erica Denhoff / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)



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