Busting Brackets

Diana Taurasi trash-talking Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese is bad for the sport

USA Basketball - Women's National Team Training Camp
USA Basketball - Women's National Team Training Camp / Mike Lawrie/GettyImages

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese are just two of the many names garnering national attention for women’s basketball.

As the pair faced off in the Elite Eight, and Clark subsequently moved on to the Final Four and National Championship, one more name was in the spotlight.

Diana Taurasi.

Taurasi broke onto the national scene in 2000 when she started her freshman season at UConn. She became a three-time national champion and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft.

She opened doors for generations of young girls in the future and paved the way for women’s collegiate basketball to gain respect across the country.

Taurasi has since won three WNBA championships and has turned the Phoenix Mercury into a powerhouse program in the league.

Sue Bird, Taurasi’s college teammate and fellow WNBA star, has joined forces with her Husky teammate to create a talk show since retiring last season.

The Bird and Taurasi Show has become a feature as one of ESPN’s alternate broadcasts for big-time basketball games.

However, during the 2024 NCAA Tournament, basketball fans noticed that Taurasi’s usually entertaining approach to commentating had taken an exceptionally negative turn.

Taurasi repeatedly tore down Iowa’s star player Clark as she fought to carry her team to a national title.

It was to the point where people who were tuned into The Bird and Taurasi Show started to change the channel for a different broadcast.

To tear down a young player who has done so much to build up the sport simply doesn't make sense.

Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) arrives for the NCAA Tournament championship basketball game
Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) arrives for the NCAA Tournament championship basketball game / Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register / USA

“You look superhuman playing against some 18-year-olds, but you're going to come play with some grown women that have been playing professional basketball for a long time,” Taurasi said to Scott Van Pelt about Clark. “Not saying it's not going to translate... It may take a little bit longer for some people."

Taurasi is most likely nearing the end of her professional career and, understandably, she wants to capitalize on her remaining time in the WNBA. However, to make comments that Clark and other players won’t make the cut in the league is detrimental to the women’s sport.

The WNBA and women’s basketball have finally stuck their foot in the door of the national sports scene – a scene that has been dominated by men for nearly a century.

Players like Taurasi are more than welcome to bring the heat to rivalries on the court but tearing players down before they’re even drafted isn’t the point of using a platform to bring attention to the game.

Many people are saying that Taurasi is a competitor and should get to talk trash. However, one could alternately argue that if she wants to be a competitor then she should keep it on the court.

If you’re going to create a new space, like The Bird and Taurasi Show, and use it as a platform for the sport, then you have to find a balance between the trash talk and building up those around you.

Taurasi has failed miserably at finding the balance between the two. She hasn’t been toeing the line, she crossed it.

“Wave bye-bye to your own career,” Taurasi said about Angel Reese.

Angel Reese
LSU v Iowa / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Her endless tirade directed toward the next generation of WNBA stars not only turns people off of watching Taurasi herself, but also disenchants the entire sport of women’s basketball.

Taurasi could and should take notes from one of the GOATs of the game, Dawn Staley.

Following South Carolina’s defeat of Iowa in the National Championship game, Staley took a moment to give Clark a well-deserved moment of respect:

“I want to personally thank Caitlin Clark for lifting up our sport. She carried a heavy load for our sport,” Staley said. “She's gonna lift that [WNBA] league up... You are one of the GOATs of our game.”

Taurasi, take a seat and open your notebook, professor Staley is speaking.

That’s how you do it. That’s how you build the sport. That’s how you support your fellow female athletes. That’s how you use your platform for good.

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