Sorry, Caitlin Clark, This Team USA Journey Is All About Diana Taurasi’s Historic Sixth Olympic Gold Medal and A Proper Farewell To WNBA’s GOAT

“The W is more than one woman.”

Unless you are White Mamba Diana Taurasi.

Team USA Coach Cheryl Reeve told us everything we needed to know about Caitlin Clark‘s chances of making the Olympic team in an interview back in May.

When she was asked about the possibility of Clark, making the team, she made it clear that it was “above her pay grade” and not her decision. A committee selects the final team and the coach deals with the cards she is dealt.

Reeve didn’t spend too much time on Clark, but she did emphasize that the selection process isn’t about one individual. It was about choosing the right pieces, developing chemistry and ensuring gold in Paris as a collective.

“She’s an incredible talent. … We have a great basketball team. Individual talent is great but our mission … how can we become the best team we can be?” Reeve said.

Reeve pointed out that other countries’ teams spend a lot of time together. So, Team USA has to accelerate that process with one camp and very limited time to gel prior to the Olympics. Reeve admits that facing teams with chemistry and talent who have been playing together for months, even years, in preparation of the Olympics, will be challenging.

The US Women haven’t had a problem with overcoming any of the disadvantages they may have, including stopping in the middle of the WNBA season to play in the Olympics. They have won nine out of the 11 tournaments in which they competed, including seven in a row from 1996 to 2020. 

Half of Twitter lost its mind when Clark wasn’t named to the team and people lashed out with zero understanding of the history of the women’s team in the Olympics, or how the selection process works. Or how little time the American team has together to develop true chemistry.

Diana Taurasi Deserves Her Farewell Tour: WNBA All-Time Leading Scorer

Everybody on that squad can get 20 points in their sleep. Even 41-year-old Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, who is playing her first meaningful basketball since being released from a Russian prison. And that’s what leaving Clark off the team was really about.

This Olympics is Diana Taurasi’s last hurrah. White Mamba is saying goodbye to a league that she has dominated since the day she left UConn, amassing 10,307 points (and counting). Second-closest is Tina Thompson (7,488) and she hasn’t played since 2013.

As far as WNBA scoring goes, there’s Diana Taurasi and then everybody else.

Taurasi has won the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award (2004), three WNBA championships (2007, 2009, and 2014), a historic five Olympic gold medals (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2021), one WNBA Most Valuable Player Award (2009), two WNBA Finals MVP Awards (2009 and 2014), five scoring titles (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011), and three FIBA World Cups (2010, 2014, and 2018).

A sixth Olympic gold would be unprecedented in the sport and a testament to how she really has been a key part of the bloodline of the WNBA. Carrying the torch of greatness no matter how popular or unpopular the league was and keeping it relevant to young girls all across the world.

Caitlin Clark Didn’t Fit On This Olympics Team

Caitlin Clark caught the eye of corporate America at a time when social media blows people up overnight and ties them to a narrative. Her battles with Angel Reese in college and her ratings bonanza in the NCAA Tournament and this WNBA season made her a legendary figure.

Taurasi has been mother hen for some time now. She warned Clark early in the season that she wouldn’t be relinquishing the crown without a fight.

To put Clark on the team would have been nothing more than a distraction. She wasn’t going to play over women who have already won multiple gold medals. The team that was compiled is a who’s who of WNBA All-Stars and future Hall of Famers. This is their time. Caitlin Clark is just 22 years old, and the 2028 Olympics will be her headline debut on Team USA.

All in due time. Right now, this is about a proper sendoff for a legend playing in her last Olympic Games. Giving Taurasi her flowers. Some people are using age discrimination and shaming to discredit her being on the team.

Those people clearly don’t understand what she’s done for the sport over the past two decades and how much dedication and love she has to have for the sport to still be playing. Taurasi should be marveled at in the same way LeBron James is.

Minnesota Lynx Coach Cheryl Reeve Not Happy With Caitlin Clark Obsession

While many are excited about Clark’s ascension as the new face of the WNBA, not everybody was singing her praises as savior of the league. That includes Minnesota Lynx head coach and president of basketball operations Cheryl Reeve. The four-time WNBA championship-winning coach and three-time WNBA Coach of the Year wasn’t feeling all the love and attention Clark is already receiving.

Reeve Says League Was Here Before Clark

After the league’s social media account on X repeatedly pushed Clark’s preseason debut, Reeve, who’s never minced her words, took to X to voice her opinion on the league. 

“ALSO in action tonight – @minnesotalynx vs @chicagosky 7PM CST. Though fans won’t be able to watch, Lynx fans can go to the Lynx app to follow along via play by play. Or if you are in the market, come to the game… as we start the season off right. #12teams #theWIsmorethanoneplayer”

A fan responded to Reeve’s tweet, saying, “Because they only care about Caitlin.”

Reeve replied, “That part.”

Minnesota Lynx and Team USA women’s basketball coach Cheryl Reeve (right) says the W’s Caitlin Clark (left) promotion is overshadowing other stars in the league. (Photos: Indiana Fever IG/Getty)

That’s an apparent shot at Clark, and the league definitely caught some flak for not also showing Chicago Sky rookie Angel Reese’s debut which was against Reeve’s Lynx squad.

Reeve has coached WNBA legends Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles and many others, so she’s seen her share of great players. Which is why she isn’t enamored at all by Clark, or any other rookie coming into the league and being anointed before they earned their status amongst the greats.  

People Blaming Reeve For Caitlin Clark Not Being On Team USA

Reeve’s perception of Clark being treated differently than other players in the league put a weird vibe in the air as it pertained to Clark being selected for Team USA and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Reeve serves as the team’s head coach, and while the committee will make the decision on who gets chosen, many believed Clark was a shoo-in. They assumed that her corporate appeal and huge fan base would be something the WNBA wanted to tap into in Paris on such a huge stage. No way a league that’s striving for more revenue can afford to see its biggest brand left at home as the Olympic team goes abroad, WNBA fans thought.

I thought the same, in a previous article:

“Even if Reeve doesn’t think Clark is good for chemistry, the committee will make the final decision and she probably wouldn’t push back. Something tells me this will get sorted out and Clark will be a member of the team.”

It did get sorted out, and the committee decided against adding the Clark circus to a group of older women who have been working together for some time to create the perfect gold-winning team.

So, if you want to get mad at somebody, don’t get mad at Reeve. Maybe you can be mad at Taurasi for being so damn great and deserving of her own spotlight. Or maybe you can enjoy the current WNBA season, which still has a ton of action left, enjoy Clark’s rookie season, enjoy the gold medal Team USA will win this summer and then re-start the clock and get ready for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.


More TSL Stories:

‘It’s Because Of Me Too’ | Chicago Sky Star Angel Reese Demands Her Flowers For Helping WNBA Popularity Soar (theshadowleague.com)

“There’s A Privilege For Younger White Players”: Cameron Brink Makes USA 3×3 Team With Hailey Van Lith and Wants Acceptance For Her “Masculine” Teammates (theshadowleague.com)

‘I’m Not In The Mindset That’s It’s All Caitlin Clark’: Draymond Green Gives A’ja Wilson Her Flowers As WNBA’s Best Player (theshadowleague.com)

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