May 14, 2024; Uncasville, Connecticut, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) talks to the media before the start of the game against the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena. Photo Credit: David Butler II-USA Today Sports

If NBC is privately upset by Caitlin Clark being left of Team USA, then Bomani Jones suggests the network should hire her as a basketball analyst for the Olympics.

Clark didn’t make Team USA for this year’s Summer Games and just as every decision around Clark seems to do, it set off a firestorm of hot takes, with one side arguing she’s not one of the 12 most talented American WNBA players, and the other side screaming about marketing. On Monday’s episode of The Right Time, Jones said the controversy stems from the way you frame the discussion.

“If you phrase it as, ‘Should Caitlin Clark have been left off the Olympic team,’ now we can open this up from discussions that come from near and far and the motivations are basically all justified,” Jones said.

That’s the exact type of discourse much of sports media, debate shows, and even news media salivates over. Discourse that invites polarizing discussions where a case can be made for all motivations to be justified. Clark is not yet one of the 12 best American basketball players in the WNBA, but there’s a mass of people willing to claim her popularity is still worthy of being shared on a global stage at the Olympics.

“The idea that we are sports fans and that we are into sports, and we are going to passionately advocate somebody getting something they don’t deserve, that’s crazy talk,” Jones said. “And I can only assume the people who would do that are the people who are those least invested in the games…It’s such a cynical outlook that I can’t believe people are getting out here, out loud and saying this.”

But as Jones notes, it’s not really the diehard sports fan who watches the Olympics, and NBC knows that as they attempt to target their coverage toward a specific audience.

“The Olympics is sports for people who don’t watch sports. The audience is not sports fans, you have to keep that part in mind,” Jones said. “The Olympics is sports for people who watch the Today Show. The Olympics is an opportunity for NBC to showcase their fall lineup through all their ads for everybody who watches it. Now, I could make a very strong argument that that is an audience that would love them some Caitlin Clark, because I feel like that is, in part, an audience that is fueling the phenomenon of Caitlin Clark.”

Which is why some of the crowd advocating for Clark to be on Team USA has claimed her not being at the Olympics is a big loss for NBC.

“You know what would get as many eyeballs on the women’s game as Caitlin Clark playing for the women’s Olympics team with that audience?” Jones asked. “Have Caitlin Clark on the Today Show talking about the basketball. Because clearly, the people that we are talking about who want to see her so bad, don’t really care that much about the basketball. So maybe you use her to introduce the basketball. No different than having Draymond Green on the TNT set, just having a current player up there talking about it.”

This sounds like a win for NBC. Everyone wants to talk about Caitlin Clark more than they even want to watch her play basketball. Much of the crowd arguing about Clark every day probably isn’t locked into all of her games. But putting Clark on Today assumes she has any interest in doing media at age 22 while her professional basketball career is just beginning. It’s a win for NBC because it allows them to feature America’s favorite women’s basketball player at the Olympics, but it does so by taking Clark out of her comfort zone.

[The Right Time]

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