NBA's Adam Silver Shares Thoughts on Caitlin Clark Missing U.S. Olympic Team

Feb 17, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; NBA Commissioner Adam Silver talks to media during a press conference before NBA All Star Saturday Night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Feb 17, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; NBA Commissioner Adam Silver talks to media during a press conference before NBA All Star Saturday Night at Lucas Oil Stadium. / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

It appears everyone in America has an opinion on Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark being left off the United States national women's basketball team for this summer's Olympics in Paris—up to, and including, the most powerful man in the sport.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed Clark's absence from the American roster with a small group of reporters Thursday as the league looks ahead to basketball's most prestigious international competition.

"I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed, but it would have been nice to see her on the floor," Silver said. "There’s no question that she’s one of the most popular players, at this point, in the world. The ratings demonstrate that, the amount of interest we’re seeing in her."

However, Silver conceded that the NBA and WNBA's financial motives may not necessarily square with USA Basketball's competitive instincts.

"My job is to get more people to watch and love basketball," Silver said via Sam Amick of The Athletic. "USA Basketball has a very specific mandate about fielding the best possible team, from a competitive standpoint, and I accept that they all did their jobs the way they were instructed to."

Clark is almost beyond reproach from a sheer popularity standpoint, and she has adjusted nicely (if not flawlessly) to the professional game. She also owns three gold medals representing the United States in various junior FIBA competitions.

However, it may be a few years before the superstar is truly ready for the global stage.

“I want to be fair to the selection committee,” Silver said. “Their job and their mandate was to field what they felt was the best possible team to help the U.S. compete in the Olympics, and I have no reason to believe they didn’t do their job as they set out to do it."


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Patrick Andres

PATRICK ANDRES

Patrick Andres is a staff writer on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He joined SI in December 2022, having worked for The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword and Diamond Digest. Andres has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a double major in history .