Caitlin Clark’s WNBA Salary is Nothing New As Players Previously Exposed the League’s Pay Disparity

Social media’s pouring outrage after learning about the WNBA number one pick, Caitlin Clark’s rookie salary of $76,535 annually in her first year.

She’s considered one of the best players in women’s basketball with her scoring ability, court vision, and flashy passes.

The number one pick in the WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever rookie contract totaled $338,056 over the course of her four-year contract, with a remaining annual salary of $78,066 (2025), $85,873 (2026), and $97,582 (2027).

This sparked many conversations on social media on the pay disparity, regular jobs that pay more than her salary, and so forth.

WNBA Draft, L-R: LSU, Angel Reese (Chicago Sky), Iowa, Caitlin Clark (Indiana Fever), and Stanford, Cameron Brink (LA Sparks); Photo Credit: Getty Images

The WNBA’s low salary is nothing new, and much hasn’t changed since its formation almost 30 years ago, in 1997. Clark’s first-year rookie salary is roughly the same as that of former Houston Comets star Cynthia Cooper, who was the highest-paid WNBA player at the time, earning $75,798 annually, per the LA Times.

Houston Comets Star, Cynthia Cooper, highest paid player in the WNBA at the time; Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez:Getty Images

In an article from 2000 in the LA Times, 50 WNBA players made $25,000 or less last season, while approximately 12 players made more than $70,000 for the 32-game, 2 1/2-month season.

On LeBron James’ show, The Shop, he had former WNBA star Lisa Leslie as a guest discussing WNBA salary pay. The former LA Sparks star laid out a suggestion of NBA players donating their salary to help WNBA players, while Golden State star Draymond Green mentioned in his opinion that NBA players support the WNBA more than the NBA. 

LeBron James also chimed in by showing how he supports the WNBA, exposing what he notices as it pertains to a lack of viewership (the highly anticipated NFL playoff game airing at the same time as the WNBA finals).

Leslie also suggested that a good marketing boost from supporters is another way to boost viewership.

“If My Mama Played for the Clippers,” The Shop: Season 5/Episode 7; YOUTUBE/The Shop

“When LeBron wore that orange hoodie, I told them—tthat hoodie was just sitting there with the logo on it,” Leslie said. 

“When he wore that hoodie, it went viral. I explained to them that our No. 1 allies that have supported us from day one are the NBA players. I said they tweet, they follow us, they come to our gamess—we don’t highlight them,” she added.

With some of the new faces in the WNBA, such as Clark and Angel Reese, who receive a lot of national recognition in the NCAA that boosts ratings and the highly media coverage on the low WNBA, hopefully this ignites a large pull of support to gain more viewership and for WNBA players to receive a significant pay increase.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.