Team USA leaving Clark behind is likely for the best

The media circus surrounding Clark in her rookie season could use a break during the Olympics.
Indiana Fever v New York Liberty
Indiana Fever v New York Liberty / Luke Hales/GettyImages

Many fans aren't thrilled about the news that Caitlin Clark, according to multiple reports, is expected to be left off the Team USA roster for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Clark has had a circus start to her WNBA career, with spotty success both individually and with her Indiana Fever team. Of course, the media circus is the real story of Clark's rookie season.

Every action of hers, her teammates, and her opponents is under a wholly unnecessary microscope simply because Clark draws attention. With that in mind, it's no surprise the internet has filled with articles just like this one reacting to the most recent news surrounding the No. 1 overall pick.

Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve largely forms Team USA's roster. While she doesn't have the final say, her input matters the most and it appears she isn't interested in Clark being on the team because of her lack of familiarity with the former Iowa Hawkeye.

Depending on what outlet you read, there is speculation that there is more drama around the selection than Reeve simply opting not to put Clark on the roster from a coaching perspective - because that's what the internet does: speculate.

I won't dive into potential drama, or draw conclusions from the quotes. While I'm in the business of writing about Caitlin Clark's career, it'll be nice for the 2024 Olympics to not revolve around her with the intense scrutiny in the background.

Don't get me wrong, Clark deserves to play on such a stage - and one day, she will. However, it isn't wholly disrespectful to leave Clark off the roster for coaching and roster-building reasons. Reeve doesn't have tickets to sell, she has games to win.

Games Team USA is likely to win anyway. In Olympic play, the Team USA Women's Basketball Team is 70-3 all-time. They haven't lost an Olympic contest since 1992, before your author was even born.

Sure, Clark would help secure victories and be one of the faces of the roster. But if Clark is doing what the WNBA is hoping anyway (and she is, so far) then people will watch these games and appreciate the other talents the league has to offer the national squad.

The team is going to be entirely made up of Olympic and World Cup veterans, so it's not as though Clark is being snubbed anyway. Besides, there will be space for her the next time around, and, hopefully, by then, the narrative around Clark won't be so toxic.

Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi, who soon turns 42, is likely competing in her last Olympic event, breaking a record for total appearances in the process. Let that be the leading story.

When the WNBA season ends in September, Clark deserves a break. She's gone nonstop since the start of her final season at Iowa, and this WNBA season has been a trial of its own. A real offseason for Clark to breathe air unoccupied by this media circus and learn from her rookie mistakes will do everyone some good.

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