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NBA champion Paul Pierce weighs in on decision to leave Caitlin Clark off US Olympic team: ‘It was a bad move’

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Caitlin Clark’s name has been featured in countless sports headlines throughout the first several weeks of the WNBA season.

The all-time leading scorer in Division I basketball has helped bring an unprecedented amount of attention to the WNBA. But much of the recent conversation about Clark has centered on USA Basketball’s decision to leave her off the roster for the upcoming Olympics.

The decision sparked a number of debates, with some backing the omission while others expressed opposition. Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce is among those disappointed Clark will not travel to Paris next month with Team USA.

From Pierce’s point of view, the USA Basketball selection committee made a mistake.

“I just thought it was a bad move,” Pierce said. “I mean, whether you like it or not, you’re trying to grow the women’s game. This is an opportunity. They came out and said she didn’t have enough reps. Well, it don’t matter. 

“I don’t care what the reps says. Politics come into play in everything. It’s part of everything. Any type of growth. So, when you don’t take advantage of that, you drop the ball.”

USA BASKETBALL CHAIR SAYS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ‘IRRESPONSIBLE’ TO PUT CAITLIN CLARK ON OLYMPIC ROSTER

The 10-time NBA All-Star also argued former LSU basketball star and current Chicago Sky rookie Angel Reese should have been selected to represent the U.S. in Paris.

“I would have put both of them on the Olympic team for the simple fact that I didn’t really watch the Olympic girls, just to be 100 with you. If that had to happen, I probably would have watched.”

Caitlin Clark warms up

Shortly after learning she did not make the team, Clark suggested she would use the decision as motivation as she pushes to play for Team USA in 2028. 

“I’m excited for the girls who are on the team. I know it’s the most competitive team in the world, and I know it could’ve gone either way — me being on the team, me not being on the team,” Clark said, via The Athletic. “So, I’m excited for them. I’m going to be rooting them on to win gold. I was a kid that grew up watching the Olympics. So, yeah, it’ll be fun to watch them. 

“No disappointment. I think it just gives you something to work for. That’s a dream. Hopefully, one day I can be there. I think it’s just a little more motivation. You remember that. And, hopefully, in four years, when four years comes back around, I can be there.”

Angel Reese looks on

The 2028 Summer Olympics will be held in Los Angeles. It will be the city’s third time hosting the Summer Games. The 1996 Olympics in Atlanta marked the last time a city in the U.S. hosted the Summer Games.

Clark is averaging 15.6 points and six assists per game this season.

Reese is averaging 10 rebounds through the first 12 games of her WNBA career. On June 16, Clark and Reese will meet for a second time this season when the Indiana Fever host the Chicago Sky.

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