‘It’s Supposed To Be Like WWE … Let Her Kill’: Former NBA Player Jeff Teague Says If WNBA Were Smart Players Would Make It Easy For Caitlin Clark

You might want to go back and look at some old footage of Jeff Teague, who spent 12 years in the NBA from (2009-10 to 2020-21), his first seven with the Atlanta Hawks. Teague was considered one of the best defensive point guards of his era, but he might have been letting the superstars eat his food on certain nights so as not to disrupt the league’s revenue flow. 

That’s a stretch, but so was Teague’s take about Caitlin Clark and the WNBA on the “Club 520 Podcast,” where the former sharp-shooter suggests that WNBA teams should be letting Cailtin Clark score and not defending her so tenaciously early in her career because it’s bad for business. 

Jeff Teague Says WNBA Should Let Caitlin Clark Have Her Way

“The WNBA is playing this all wrong,” said Teague. “My dad even said that to me today. It’s supposed to be like WWE. Y’all supposed to play hard against her, but y’all supposed to let her kill. When he starts having bad games and it don’t look how it’s supposed to look, like we just saw in college … everyone is so excited about her coming to the league and changing it. If she don’t kill like that it’s going to bring it back down to reality. 

“Like the great white hope ain’t got that much hope,” he added.

Teague’s comments miss the mark considering the WNBA has been on a hunt for respect and legitimacy from NBA players, especially, since its inception, so turning it into a circus for one player is not an option. If he was trying to be funny, that’s even worse. 

Jeff Teague’s Comments Offended Jemele Hill

He caught some flak from influential X users such as Jemele Hill, who labeled his comments as downright stupid.

Teague immediately dismissed the authentic competitive nature of the league and the highly skilled women who have built it over the past 28 years. There’s not one player in the league who considers herself part of a gimmick or would back down so another player could shine. Even if it means everybody eats. The WNBA’s new socialism that Teague is suggesting has a bad ring to it. 

One of his co-hosts asked, “You want the WNBA to really write a script for Caitlin Clark?”

“No, I’m not saying that … As a smart person … she damn near about to get the league charter flights,” said Teague, before being reminded that the flights are already a done deal. 

“All the stuff that they want and need, more money, new teams getting added and all this. When she [Clark] comes [to play at an arena], you gotta protect her at all costs.” 

“So you want them to let her win?” the co-host asks Teague.  

“Not let her win, but play the game,” Teague answered. “Play the game within the game. Y’all know this is a cash cow right here and everything is changing. If she’s having a good year and she averages 22 and people are like, ‘Hey, Caitlin Clark is really that deal,’ then the league is just going to get bigger. Bigger, bigger, give her four years to be that. Now everybody lit. We up. New contracts and everything. Then you can dog her.”

Jeff Teague Has A Point? Faster Clark Become Star, Better For W

Teague wasn’t tactful in his description of how the WNBA can get the most out of the Caitlin Clark explosion, but there’s some legitimacy to his point that the sooner she develops into a top 3 player, or one of the greatest players ever, then that’s advantageous to the league who will continue to ride the momentum of her presence to new branding deals and accommodations and signature shoe recipients and rivalries and more expansion teams, all of the things that have manifested themselves in the first three games of Clark’s career in conjunction with her time at Iowa. 

So far, she has been good, averaging 17 points per game and nearly six assists. Her impact has been felt, but it’s safe to say that she’s been less than what the fringe fan hoped for. Her legend has been blown up to mythical proportions by people who never gave an iota of their attention to women’s basketball prior to her ascension in the NCAA Tournament and obliteration of the NCAA all-time scoring record.

If Clark came out the chute with three straight 45-point games, the WNBA would be on fire, even more than it is now. You can’t deny that the people aren’t satisfied so far. Some over-the-top fans are already calling for the firing of head coach Christie Sides. 

Maybe Teague has a point from an all-in business standpoint, but there’s also a thing called personal pride, and legends like Diana Taurasi, A’ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart, DeWanna Bonner and the like aren’t going to roll over for the new kid on the block. Clark may be calling the shots in every phase of WNBA life. Her brand might be the centerpiece of every business and marketing conversation for the W. But she doesn’t control what happens on the court. At least not yet. 

More TSL Stories:

‘Lisa Bluder Could Coach The Team Better Over Zoom’: Indiana Fever Fans Are Calling For Team To Replace Christie Sides With Caitlin Clark’s College Coach (theshadowleague.com)

“Media Needs To Give Her a Little Grace and Time To Develop”: Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese Silenced Critics In First Few WNBA Games (theshadowleague.com)

“It’s Going To Translate” | WNBA Legend Diana Taurasi Changes Tune On Caitlin Clark and The Rookie Had Best Game Of Career (theshadowleague.com)

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