Colin Cowherd weighs in on Caitlin Clark's Olympic omission. Screengrab: ‘The Herd’ with Colin Cowherd

You were bound to hear from just about every sports media talking head after Caitlin Clark was left off the United States roster for the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Colin Cowherd was the latest to weigh in, offering that Clark isn’t one of the top 12-15 players in the WNBA. In the same breath, he compared Clark’s being left off the Olympic roster with Christian Laettner, who Cowherd says wasn’t one of the top 100 players in the NBA at the time despite being on the Dream Team.

“Jaylen Brown, for the record, is not on this Olympic team,” Cowherd said Monday. “He’s one of the top 15 players (in the NBA). He’s gonna win Finals MVP, potentially. Diana Taurasi is not one of the 15 best players in the women’s game; she’s making the team.

“Olympic basketball team — men’s and women’s — has always been subjective and very political at the end of the roster. Isiah Thomas didn’t make it. Why? Michael Jordan didn’t like him.”

All suffice to say, Cowherd feels like Clark’s snub is an opportunity wasted.

“When Conor McGregor came into the UFC, there were fighters over the past 5-6 years who passed up immediate title fights to fight Conor McGregor,” said Cowherd. “Why? Eyeballs. You don’t think when Tiger Woods had that 10-12 year historic run, guys didn’t fight to be in his foursome? Eyeballs. The WNBA Finals had 700,000 viewers. The draft — that included Caitlin Clark — had three times as many.

“I would make the argument, like a Tiger Woods or a Conor McGregor in their prime, she’ll make other people money beyond herself. Rising tide lifts all boats. Instead of getting seven million viewers, you’ll get 14-18 with Caitlin Clark—maybe more. The sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth best player on the women’s Olympic team would make six or seven figures in endorsements.

“The women’s basketball team does not lose the Olympics. I think they’ve won seven straight gold. You probably didn’t know that because you didn’t watch…Life, whether it’s a relationship, business, or sports, life gives you so few big waves. When they do, grab your surfboard. Bryce Harper. Boxing’s never had another Muhammad Ali. Tiger Woods. Conor McGregor. (deep sigh) Caitlin Clark.”

That saw Cowherd lash out at established WNBA media, suggesting their perspectives were outdated relics of the past. He characterized their stance as akin to “old baseball writers,” as he essentially shared the message to ditch the rigidity and embrace fresh ideas prioritizing the WNBA’s growth.

“Here’s what I know: WNBA now is flying chartered flights,” said Cowherd. “She would triple the TV ratings. Again, life doesn’t give ya, sports doesn’t give ya, business doesn’t give ya a lot of these kind of waves. Grab the surfboard; she’s here for you. By the way, the NBA would die to have a domestic star nearly as popular as Caitlin Clark. Oh wait, they do — Anthony Edwards. They put him on the team.

“Anthony Edwards today is not as good as Jaylen Brown. I think he could be by the end of next year. And I think that after the trade deadline I’ve said this, he and (Victor Wembanyama) could be surging as faces of the league. But Ant Edwards isn’t as good as Jaylen Brown now. Ant is unrefined, he’s up and down, he’s hot and cold. Jaylen Brown’s great every night. They found a spot for him on the team.”

Instead of spite or low self-esteem, Cowherd agrues that women’s basketball should embrace personalities like Clark to break through and achieve mainstream popularity.

In Cowherd’s eyes, Clark’s popularity isn’t about diminishing the accomplishments of the chosen players, but creating a win-win. The team leverages her immense popularity to draw in new viewers, and Clark only furthers her platform with a massive global boost, even in a limited on-court role.

“Women’s basketball feels like it’s suffering from spite or historically low self-esteem, where they want to prove that they though no more than you do,” Cowherd added. “Here’s what I know: Caitlin Clark would make all the other women on the Olympic team. She’d make them more famous. She’d give them opportunities. They’d become potentially more household names. It’s not just about Caitlin Clark. In fact, I’d argue it’s very little about Caitlin Clark. It’s an opportunity wasted.

“You go ahead and lecture us about how you know the game and you’ve covered the Olympics; good for you. But some stuff is Business 101. This is a layup, and you blew it. It’s not a 360. It’s not a no-look pass. It’s not beating the Celtics. This was a layup, and you bricked it.”

[Colin Cowherd]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.