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NBA legend Julius Erving supports Caitlin Clark being left off Olympics roster: ‘Slow your roll’

Caitlin Clark not being a part of USA Basketball’s 12-woman Olympics squad this year has sparked controversy, as many believe she should be a part of the team due to her skill and marketable stardom. 

However, there are some that have defended the organization’s tough decision to keep her off the roster this year, including Diana Taurasi, who is heading to Paris to compete in her sixth Olympic Games. 

NBA Hall of Famer Julius Erving told Fox News Digital that he has taken a stance on the matter, and his thought process is in the same camp as Taurasi. 

“The latest with her is not being a part of the Olympic team. That debate is going on, and I’ve kind of taken a position on it,” he said, while also discussing his investment in the National Thoroughbred League, a first-of-its-kind horse racing league. “I think that she’s probably going to be a part of the next three Olympic teams, and three would be plenty because there’s risk associated with being a part of this particular Olympic team.”

“The world plays a different game than the WNBA, much more physical, much more trying. She’s been going straight through on a juggernaut with her NCAA success and also in the WNBA season so far, which is not even over.”

Erving continued to explain his position, saying that he does not want Clark to “hit a wall.”

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

“It’s a first year for a young player – male or female, it don’t matter – and it’s always tough,” he said. “You hit a wall at some point. I would just hate to see her in the Olympics this particular year, sitting over on the bench hurt, or injured, or tired and hitting that wall. 

“So, slow your roll a little bit. She’s doing commercials, she’s doing things that are making a difference in the game, and she’s been tremendous. She’ll make an even greater difference if she’s allowed to let things happen when it’s supposed to happen.”

USA Basketball understood that backlash was going to come with their decision to leave Clark off the roster, but selection committee chair Jen Rizzotti told The Associated Press that it would have been “irresponsible” to put Clark on the squad. 

Caitlin Clark passes the ball

“It would be irresponsible for us to talk about her in a way other than how she would impact the play of the team,” she said. “Because it wasn’t the purview of our committee to decide how many people would watch or how many people would root for the U.S. It was our purview to create the best team we could for [coach] Cheryl [Reeve].”

Clark took the high road when asked about being left off the squad, saying she will use the snub as motivation and will certainly be rooting for all those playing. 

“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,” she 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.”

Erving has no doubt she will be on the team when the Olympics returns to Los Angeles in 2028. That is why he is not upset about the decision, knowing that Clark’s development in the WNBA leading up to that moment will make her more ready for the moment to compete for gold. 

Julius Erving and Caitlin Clark side by side

“I wasn’t so upset about her not being put on the team for marketing purpose or what have you,” he said. “It’s a human being, she’s a great person with a great personality, and she needs to continue to develop at her own time. She might be upset about it, but I think in the long run, she’ll be satisfied with the decisions that were made that she has no control over. She’ll make great decisions with the things she does have control over.”

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