You Know Who Isn't Complaining About Caitlin Clark's Salary? Caitlin Clark.

AP Photo/Matthew Putney

There has been quite the brouhaha these past few days since women's basketball phenom Caitlin Clark was picked first in the WNBA draft, and it was announced that her annual salary for her rookie season would be $76,535. The shrieking harridans of the "GENDER PAAAAAAAY GAP!!!!!!" squad were immediately deployed, and they haven't yet stopped shouting. 


As it is with all loud leftist outrages, facts, economics, and the general steely coldness of reality never enter into the conversation. Chief among those facts is that the $76,535 rookie salary is a set amount under the WNBA's salary structure and was known well ahead of time. The garment-renders who became aghast after the draft have been proclaiming not only their anger but their ignorance as well. 

We all know that being ignorant and loud really isn't a drawback on the Left. It's actually kind of their thing. 

The default position for the gender pay gap crowd is to begin with an apples-and-oranges comparison of what men in similar positions make. These discussions on the Left are never allowed to introduce the wide variety of variables that influence the pay gap, of course. 

Those who are shocked — SHOCKED, I tell you — by Clark's rookie salary immediately go to rookie salaries in the NBA. That's an economics discussion that is dead in the water before it even begins. As Robert wrote in a recent VIP post: 

That’s a shame, if it’s true, but it’s not the same thing as the pay differential between the NBA and WNBA. People pay to watch NBA players more than they do to watch WNBA players quite simply because the quality of play is higher and the games are more interesting. It is the free market, not institutionalized sexism or any other leftist bogeyman, that has determined that the NBA’s number one draft pick can get a $55 million deal while his WNBA counterpart signs for only $338,000.


I would respectfully and strongly disagree with my esteemed colleague on one point: the NBA has sucked the life out of basketball. You might see a couple of "interesting" games during the finals, but the regular season games are a slog. His point about the economics is, of course, dead on. 

There has been one notable voice not participating in the noise about Caitlin Clark's salary and that is Clark herself. There is a very good reason for that, which was also known well ahead of time.

The Washington Post

Under the WNBA’s salary structure (via the database Spotrac), this year’s No. 1 pick will earn $76,535 (rising to $85,873 in 2026), a stark contrast to the NBA’s No. 1 draft pick, who will earn more than $10 million. At Iowa, Clark had college name, image and likeness deals reportedly worth more than an estimated $3 million, according to ON3, and those deals, which will follow her to the WNBA, should be only the beginning given the record-breaking TV ratings her college games drew. Ticket prices for Fever games are already rising; Indianapolis’s Gainbridge Fieldhouse is less than 400 miles from Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena, where Clark played in front of sold-out home crowds that topped 15,000 fans during her last season.

Caitlin Clark is not only the greatest women's college basketball player in history, but she is also a proven and very lucrative brand. Later in the article, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert says that the NIL deals are "just called endorsements in the pros."


Clark has handled the heat of the spotlight exceedingly well. She's been able to perform at the highest level and not get distracted by the media circus around her. Barring injury, she'll be the greatest thing that ever happened to the WNBA. As the father of a female athlete, I'm not one of those knee-jerk, "Women's sports are boring" guys. I'd much rather watch Caitlin Clark than most of the pampered headcases in the NBA. In fact, the late great John Wooden once said of women's basketball that it's "a more pure version of the sport." 

The increased television exposure that Clark will bring to the WNBA will greatly increase her bank account via endorsements. She knows that.

That's why she's having a better week than the gender pay gap howlers. 

Please enjoy this highlight reel of Caitlin Clark making 3-pointers from pretty much wherever the heck she wants to.

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