Reggie Miller's Comments On Caitlin Clark Have Heads Turning

Indiana Fever phenom Caitlin Clark has become the talk of the 2024 Summer Olympics — and she's not even stepping onto the court in Paris. In response to news that Clark won't be on the U.S. women's basketball team, the sports media world has been busy dishing out hot takes like hotcakes, and Indiana Pacers Hall of Famer Reggie Miller is in the camp that thinks Team USA made the right call.

When she embarked on her WNBA career after making history as the NCAA's all-time leading scorer, Clark received support from LeBron James and other NBA stars who wanted to see her succeed. Miller is also a fan, being another basketball icon whom Hoosiers can claim as their own. "I absolutely love everything Caitlin Clark stands for and what she has done for the women's game," he said on the "Dan Patrick Show." But he expressed agreement with those who believe there are players more deserving of being on the team. "She's not one of the 12 best," he continued, later adding, "Looking at this roster, it's arguably one of the greatest ones they've had."

Miller argued that it's also unfair that Clark has been forced into the center of this contentious narrative, putting her in the awkward position of having to address it. He even suggested that it was wrong to include her in the Olympics conversation entirely. Unsurprisingly, plenty of people disagreed with his assessment.

Critics poked holes in Reggie Miller's argument

On X, formerly known as Twitter, critics took issue with Reggie Miller's suggestion that Caitlin Clark doesn't deserve a ticket to the Olympics because she's not the cream of the crop. Some objectors argued that there are more talented players staying home than the 12 women who made the roster. As an unfair addition, one person singled out Phoenix Mercury vet Diana Taurasi, who many people believe snagged the spot that should have gone to Clark. "[E]ither you send the best 12 or you don't and stop using it as the excuse," they tweeted. "Several players are performing better than [Taurasi] this year (eg Arike [Ogunbowale])."

Another critic had a more brutal take, writing, "The people on the team aren't the best 12 players in the league right now so that argument is played. I'm glad she isn't on it so these petty, jealous girls can again be watched by nobody." This is another popular argument about Clark's exclusion — that fewer viewers will watch the women's basketball matchups during the Olympics without her on the team. However, viewership is not something the USA Basketball Women's National Team Player Selection Committee considers when choosing team members. Stats and consistency of play are both important, obviously, and Clark hasn't had much time to prove herself as a pro. But according to NBC 5 Chicago, one of the biggest strikes against her may have been her inability to participate in an Olympic training camp.

The problem with the inexperience argument

Carmelo Anthony agreed with Reggie Miller, saying that now is not the right time for Caitlin Clark to make her Olympic debut. "You have to earn your keep," the former Team USA member said on his "7PM in Brooklyn" podcast, adding, "You gotta wait your turn." However, this unwritten rule about paying dues has not applied in the past; Diana Taurasi was a rookie when she competed in the 2004 Olympics.

Taurasi, who previously hinted that Clark might get humbled in the WNBA, had to tread carefully when she weighed in on the controversy over Clark's level of experience, telling USA Today, "College basketball is much different than the WNBA than it is overseas." She seemed to suggest that Clark needs a little more time to improve her game and adapt to playing as a pro. "Once you learn the steps and the rhythm and you have a skill set that is superior to everyone else, everything else will fall into place," she added. Taurasi didn't even try to explain why she deserved a spot on Team USA as a rookie, while Clark was denied one, but who can blame her for not wanting to open up that can of worms?

One professional baller argued that Clark should have made the roster. On his "Undisputed" podcast, Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce said of the snub, "Sometimes you have to say, 'Hey you guys, this is bigger than the game.' ... This is a missed opportunity."