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Angel Reese Says Interest in the WBNA is Up 'Because of Me, Too.' The Packed Arenas at Caitlin Clark Games Beg to Differ.

By now it's painfully obvious to everyone that the WNBA in particular and women's sports in general are getting exactly what they've been in desperate need of forever. 

Hatred. 

Nothing is better for business than good old fashioned resentment. Sure, a rivalry built on mutual respect can be fine. Bromances like the ones between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, or Peyton Manning and Tom Brady certainly didn't do their respective sports any harm. But nothing beats two competitors hating each other with every fiber of their being, down to the molecular level. Which is what we're witnessing between Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark.

Despite Rebecca Lobo's assertions that players "hating on" Clark is "a false narrative" and she's seen no signs of "pettiness or jealousy" directed toward the WBNA's Rookie of the Month for May:

I mean, how else can you describe Reese's attitude toward Clark that Karim posted about:

… if not "pettiness and jealousy"? Unless you want to get clever with the wordsmithing and call it "pettousy." Otherwise, insisting you're every bit as much the reason for the spike in interest in women's ball as the No. 1 overall pick who's putting up better numbers than you:

Clark: 15.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game

Reese: 10.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists 

… is the very definition of jealiness. 

More to the point, Reese is dead wrong. That's not a matter of opinion. Not mine, yours or KFC's:

It's a matter of verifiable fact. The data is clear:

Doing the math, that's an average of 6,542 asses in seats every time the WBNA hosts a game where Caitlin Clark is not on the court. And 17,337 whenever she does. That's a difference of +10,795, which is an increase of 62.3%. The numbers don't lie. 

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And that right there is plenty enough reason for Reese and the rest of the league to hate her. There's never been a more gratifying reason to resent another human being than their popularity. Jealousy is a power motivator. You can't convince me that the top PGA golfers didn't hold a grudge against Tiger Woods when he arrived on the scene in the late '90s and took up all the attention. When he took the No. 1 Ranking away from the likes of Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and David Duval, and held onto it for stretches of 41, 264 and (a record 281) consecutive weeks, you're damned right the rest of the field was trying to convince themselves all those TV ratings and ad revenues were skyrocketing because of them, and not just Tiger. That's human nature. 

But sports don't work like that. Neither does life. There are hierarchies. And they tend to get dominated by a precious few. Or a singular alpha. And in women's basketball right now, Caitlin Clark is the one driving the interest, selling the tickets, and generating the revenue. With Reese as the Phil Mickelson to her Tiger. The one who can't stand her and is hostile to her very existence. But one who'll also benefit from being the arch rival determined to take her down. As well as stand to get paid more, the way all the golf purses went up thanks to Tiger. 

So in this case, we need an Angel Reese as well as a Caitlin Clark. As long as they antagonize each other, we all win.

Giphy Images.