“Set this league on fire”- Caitlin Clark and WNBA Rookies: Ready to Ignite the League, Says Billie Jean King

In the ever-evolving landscape of women’s sports, the excitement is palpable as the WNBA prepares to welcome a new wave of talent. With rising stars like Caitlin Clark ready to make their mark, tennis legend Billie Jean King has drawn parallels to a momentous era in another sport’s history, predicting an electrifying future for the league.

At the 1971 U.S. Open, King famously rallied veteran tennis players to embrace 16-year-old Chris Evert, recognizing her potential to revolutionize the sport. “She’s the reason we had all those people watching us,” King recalled in a recent phone interview. “I told them Chris is fantastic for our sport. Look at the crowds. You could not get in the place. She’s the next superstar. She’s going to put more money in our pockets.”

King’s foresight proved correct, as Evert’s rise brought unprecedented attention and growth to women’s tennis. Now, she sees a similar spark in Caitlin Clark and the incoming class of WNBA rookies. “This new generation is about to set the league on fire,” King asserted, her enthusiasm clear. “Just like Chris, Caitlin Clark is fantastic for our sport. She’s got the skill, the charisma, and the drive to elevate the WNBA to new heights.”

Clark, a standout at the University of Iowa, has captivated basketball fans with her extraordinary scoring ability and court vision. Her dynamic play style, combined with a charismatic presence, mirrors the qualities King admired in Evert. “Caitlin’s game is magnetic,” King said. “She’s already drawing huge crowds and media attention. Imagine what she’ll do in the WNBA.”

But King’s message to the veterans of the WNBA echoes the advice she gave her fellow tennis players decades ago. “It’s our job to make sure she is treated fairly,” she emphasized. “When you’re on the court against her, you gotta play tough as always, but no cheap shots. Everyone has to be more hospitable. We’re all in this together, and supporting each other will only make the league stronger.”

The infusion of new talent into the WNBA extends beyond Clark. The 2024 draft class is brimming with potential, featuring names like Paige Bueckers, Haley Jones, and NaLyssa Smith, each bringing their unique flair to the court. “These players aren’t just future stars; they’re already stars in their own right,” King noted. “Their presence will attract more fans, more sponsors, and more opportunities for everyone involved in the league.”

The anticipation surrounding these rookies is a testament to the growing popularity and recognition of women’s basketball. Social media buzz, sold-out college games, and increased media coverage signal a bright future. King’s endorsement serves as a powerful reminder of the collective responsibility to foster this growth.

As the WNBA prepares for an influx of talent, the parallels to Evert’s impact on tennis are undeniable. Just as Billie Jean King once envisioned a prosperous future for women’s tennis, she now sees the WNBA on the brink of a transformative era. “We’re witnessing the dawn of something special,” King declared. “Caitlin Clark and her peers are ready to ignite this league, and we should all be excited for what’s to come.”

With the support of seasoned veterans and the enthusiasm of new stars, the WNBA is poised to reach unprecedented heights. As King aptly put it, “The future is bright, and it’s going to be a thrilling ride.”

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