Kevin Durant on Caitlin Clark Credit: WSJ News

Coming off record ratings in her clash with rival Angel Reese and the Chicago Sky, the Caitlin Clark show is still popular as ever, and an NBA legend and Olympic gold medalist is a big believer in the effect Clark can have on the WNBA and women’s sports.

All-NBA forward, investor, and media executive Kevin Durant believes the WNBA has done a “great job” promoting Clark, and believes NBA stars like himself have a responsibility to help promote the league more widely.

“I see it eventually competing with the men’s sports, but it’s got a long way to go,” Durant said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal released Tuesday. “I think it’s on us to continue pushing that, and we’ll use our platforms to do so.”

Durant attributed the growth to a greater appreciation for the athletes’ craft and the proliferation of content around women’s basketball, as well as broadcasters and business partners investing.

“More respect for the sport is starting to gain over time,” Durant explained. “We see how hard these women work every single day, we’re getting to see the content they make inside their lives … that’s going to help the business as well.”

Durant was also asked to weigh in on Clark’s candidacy for the U.S. women’s national basketball team and agreed with Team USA reps that Clark has not yet earned one of the 12 spots.

“I still think there’s proper steps you have to take in our world to be considered an Olympian,” Durant said. “I think she’s definitely going to be on one of these teams going forward, but for right now there’s better candidates out there I think. But Caitlin’s just gotta continue to keep showing up every day.”

Many have claimed Team USA and the powers that be in women’s basketball are making a mistake excluding Clark from a marketing and growth perspective. But Durant believes the WNBA is lifting Clark up already.

“The WNBA is doing a great job of showcasing her. I’m seeing her games on ESPN every other day,” Durant said. “No matter what they’re talking about, there’s a lot of dialogue around the game right now, so that’s good as well. But I think as she keeps getting better as a player, her production on the court gets better, then the league will grow, alongside some of the other women as well. A’ja Wilson, there’s just so many great players in our league, that Caitlin has helped shine that light on them. And that’ll help the league grow over time.”

Durant cofounded the sports and business platform Boardroom with manager Rich Kleiman and is a prominent voice in basketball. While the conversation around Clark has been testy all season, Durant sees her arrival in the WNBA as a net positive.

[WSJ News on YouTube]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.