An image of basketball player Caitlin Clark.

Caitlin Clark

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Updated Jun 03, 2024 at 03:29PM EDT by Zach.

Added Jun 03, 2024 at 01:18PM EDT by Adam.

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About

Caitlin Clark is an American professional women's basketball player who plays for the WNBA's Indiana Fever as of the 2024 season. She was widely considered one of the greatest college basketball players of all time when she played at Iowa before entering the WNBA and has been considered by many as the potential face of women's basketball. Following her virality and media coverage in the 2020s, Clark notably became the subject of various memes online, as well as other content.

History

Caitlin Clark, born January 22nd, 2002, in Iowa, played her freshman year with Iowa University in 2020.[1] In four years at Iowa, she racked up numerous awards[2] and led Iowa to consecutive NCAA Championship games. In her final two seasons, she generated significant hype as the potential face of women's basketball, as her games in the NCAA Championship tournament broke television viewership records for women's basketball[3] (Clark highlights shown below).



Clark was selected with the first overall pick in the 2024 WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever and has started every game throughout the 2024 WNBA season as of June 3rd, 2024.

During her rise to prominence, she has been credited with popularizing women's basketball, as increased TV ratings and attendance numbers for women's basketball games have coincided with Clark's growth in popularity. Some sports media outlets have dubbed this "The Caitlin Clark Effect."[4]



Online Presence

Clark has a sizable social media presence. Her Instagram account[5] has over 2.4 million followers as of June 3rd, 2024. She also has over 374,000 followers[6] on Twitter / X and is additionally one of the few professional athletes of any gender with a devoted subreddit, as /r/caitlinclark[7] has over 2,600 subscribers as of June 2024.

Hailey Van Lith Covering Caitlin Clark

Hailey Van Lith Covering Caitlin Clark refers to memes and jokes about LSU basketball guard Hailey Van Lith struggling to defend Iowa star Caitlin Clark in the teams' Elite Eight meeting of the 2024 NCAA National Championship tournament. Clark scored 41 points in the game, the majority of which came with Van Lith defending her. The performance in early April 2024 led numerous social media users to make jokes and memes at Van Lith's expense while criticizing LSU coaching for not adjusting their defensive strategy.


WNBA Rookie Season Hard Fouls

During Clark's rookie season in the WNBA in 2024, there were multiple instances in which it seemed Clark was being fouled particularly violently (example clips shown below), leading to speculation about whether veterans of the WNBA had bad blood with Clark.



One of the more notable examples came on June 1st, 2024, when Chicago Sky player Chennedy Carter gave Clark a seemingly unprovoked shove after Clark made a basket (shown below).



The play caused significant discourse among basketball fans. Draymond Green, himself known for giving hard fouls in the NBA, commented on an Instagram post that the Indiana Fever should "hire an enforcer," meaning a player who would physically stand up for Clark[8] (shown below).


I ain't answering no Caitlin Clark questions. CHENNEDY CARTER on what happened between her and Caitlin Clark in the third quarter Comments money23green ❀ 55m Indiana better go invest in an enforcer... FAST! Reply View 14 more replies 189

The Carter foul also led to memes about the trend of WNBA players fouling Clark hard. For example, on June 1st, 2024, Twitter / X user @ShooterMcGavin_[9] posted a Dumb and Dumber clip about WNBA players fouling Clark, gaining over 3,800 retweets and 36,000 likes in two days (shown below, top). On the same day, @StoolieMemes[10] posted a clip of an NBA player in a fight with the same caption, gaining over 2,400 retweets and 20,000 likes in a similar timeframe (shown below, bottom).


Search Interest

External References

[1] WFCourier – Caitlin Clark Makes Hawkeye Debut

[2] Caitlinclark22 – Awards and Accolades

[3] Hollywood Reporter – NCAA Women’s Final Sets Another Record

[4] NCAA – The Caitlin Clark Effect

[5] Instagram – CaitlinClark22

[6] Twitter – CaitlinClark22

[7] Reddit – /r/caitlinclark

[8] Twitter – VanshayM

[9] Twitter – ShooterMcGavin_

[10] Twitter – StoolieMemes

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