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‘It Boils My Blood’: Las Vegas Aces Star A’ja Wilson Exposes Shocking Truths About Race, the WNBA, and Caitlin Clark 

A’ja Wilson is a five-time WNBA All-Star, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and a two-time WNBA champion, but the Las Vegas Aces and Wilson’s greatness continues to be overshadowed by Caitlin Clark.

The unprecedented amount of attention surrounding Clark has sparked discussion about race, with some questioning whether the NCAA career-scoring leader’s meteoric rise is at least partially fueled by the fact that she is a white woman who played college basketball in middle America. From Wilson’s point of view, Clark’s race plays a significant role in the way she has been marketed and promoted.

“I think it’s a huge thing. I think a lot of people may say it’s not about Black and white, but to me, it is,” she told The Associated Press when asked about the race element in Clark’s popularity.

A'ja Wilson of the WNBA Las Vegas Aces
A’ja Wilson is calling out women’s basketball’s race Issue after Caitlin Clark scored a Nike deal before Wilson did. (Photo: @aja22wilson / Instagram)

Wilson also noted that some black women are at a disadvantage when it comes to marketing opportunities. She suggested that if Black women are successful on the basketball court, they are still often forgotten.

“It really is because you can be top-notch at what you are as a Black woman, but yet maybe that’s something that people don’t want to see. They don’t see it as marketable, so it doesn’t matter how hard I work,” said Wilson. “It doesn’t matter what we all do as Black women, we’re still going to be swept underneath the rug. That’s why it boils my blood when people say it’s not about race because it is.”

The WNBA has struggled to attract a high level of attention and viewership throughout almost the league’s entire existence. But, the incoming rookie class, headlined by Clark, Angel Reese, and others, is on pace to reverse the league’s fortunes. Others have questioned whether the WNBA was more focused on promoting Clark instead of seizing the golden opportunity to uplift the league as a whole.

Fans were surprised when Reese’s preseason debut against the Minnesota Lynx was unavailable to watch via the WNBA app in early May. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve encouraged fans to attend the game in person or follow along with the game via play-by-play.

The WNBA apologized for its app incorrectly listing the Sky’s preseason matchup with the Minnesota Lynx as being available to watch and attempted to clarify its broadcast schedule, saying the Fever’s preseason opener was the only game the league planned to broadcast.

After the game Reeve made it clear that Clark isn’t the WNBA’s only valuable player.

“Certainly, Caitlin’s first game, they were gonna value. I’m all for that. I get it. People want to see that, but they also want to see… it’s not just about Caitlin,” said Reeve.

She continued, “This isn’t Caitlin’s fault in any way. It’s more, you know, the recognition that there’s general excitement about the WNBA in ways that we haven’t seen before. And so we have to capitalize to really ensure that this is a movement.”

Clark led Iowa to back-to-back national championship games, losing to LSU in 2023 and South Carolina in 2024. Shortly before she became the top selection in the WNBA, she made an appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” She is the all-time leading scorer across men’s and women’s college basketball and has won numerous accolades.

In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that Clark signed a record-breaking signature shoe deal with athletic footwear and apparel giant Nike. The deal represented the most lucrative contract in history. for a women’s basketball player. On May 11, Nike announced that Wilson, who has been a star player with the Aces since 2018, was finally getting her own signature shoe.

The Aces star posted a photo showing Wilson wearing a sweatshirt that reads “Of Course I Have A Shoe Dot Com.”

“You thought we’d sleep on an SEC champion, national champion, #1 draft pick, five-time All-Star, U.S. Olympic gold winner, WNBA Finals MVP, a statue-having, New York Times Best Seller, TIME 100 Most Influential People in 2024, two-time WNBA champion, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, two-time WNBA MVP, and pettiest hooper on the internet? You thought. Of course A’ja’s got a shoe,” Nike wrote on social media.

Wilson’s former college coach, Dawn Staley, also celebrated the WNBA star’s shoe deal by rocking an “Of Course I Have A Shoe Dot Com” t-shirt.

Wilson’s signature shoe arrives in 2025.

While Clark has not said anything publicly about the race narrative surrounding her popularity, conversations about a double standard continue to circulate.

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