Mar 10, 2024; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) reacts to forward Hannah Stuelke's (45) free throw shots during overtime against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Caitlin Clark will not be playing in the NBA, but we shouldn’t need to explore that narrative to attempt to legitimize her accomplishments.

Last week, Fox Sports Radio host Rob Parker told co-host Chris Broussard that Clark should bypass the WNBA after her college basketball career ends this month in favor of the NBA.

“I am convinced that Caitlin Clark should play for an NBA team, not a WNBA team,” Parker said in response to Ice Cube’s offer to the women’s basketball star $5 million to join the Big3 league.

“This ain’t no stunt,” Parker continued. “This is not a sideshow; this is not the bearded lady at the circus. This is not what it could be. The NBA right now is so soft as far as physical play. They allow almost anyone to just take three-point shots, and I believe, I really do, that she could put up threes in this man’s NBA. This is not 2004, this is not the 90’s, this is an NBA where the three ball is open. It’s open to be had.”

Parker cited Steph Curry edging out Sabrina Ionescu in a three-point contest during All-Star Weekend several weeks ago as proof that Clark can succeed in the NBA. Curry vs Ionescu was great, but an All-Star Weekend contest is not indicative of an NBA game. Mac McClung is a two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion; he can’t play in the NBA.

The Fox Sports Radio host wasn’t the only person touting Clark to the NBA last week. CBS Sports college basketball analyst Chris Walker did it, too. “I say a woman can play in the NBA,” Walker said during a segment about Clark. “People don’t believe it, but people like this young lady right here, trust me, make people think a little bit differently about that.”

Yes, the NBA is not as physical as it once was. Defenders can no longer clothesline a player driving to the basket; that doesn’t mean the league is short on athleticism and physicality. But the issue with the “Caitlin Clark can play in the NBA” narrative is less about why she can’t play in the NBA and more about why she doesn’t need to.

Clark is a historically great women’s college basketball player. And hopefully, the growth that she’s fostered for women’s college basketball will translate to the WNBA. Let’s just enjoy and celebrate what Clark has done, and continues to do for women’s basketball without invoking the NBA. What she’s doing in college and will do in the WNBA should be enough because Clark doesn’t need the NBA to legitimize her basketball accomplishments.

[Fox Sports Radio]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to