Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Diana Taurasi speaks about Caitlin Clark’s Olympic basketball snub: ‘A different dance you have to learn’ | Sporting News

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The Caitlin Clark omission from the USA Olympic basketball team is all anyone can talk about in the hoops world — including Diana Taurasi.

Clark’s rise to athletic fame has been meteoric. In the process, she has helped lift women’s basketball to never-before-seen heights, with the popularity of the sport ever-increasing. However, she was one of one of the most notable snubs for the 2024 USA Olympic women’s basketball team, failing to land a spot on the roster for the Paris Olympics. 

Taurasi, a five-time Olympic champion, was one of 12 players named to the 2024 roster for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris. She’s going for her sixth consecutive gold medal, and the red, white, and blue is aiming for its eighth in a row in women’s basketball.

One of the top veterans in the game, Taurasi did not shy away from giving her two cents on the Clark situation with USA basketball. This is what Taurasi had to say about Clark’s absence from the Olympic team. 

MORE: Leaving Caitlin Clark off the Olympic Team is a mistake that didn’t need to happen

What did Diana Taurasi say about Caitlin Clark’s Olympic snub?

Taurasi was asked about her thoughts on the snubs of Clark and others on the heels of the 2024 Olympic roster reveal. 

The Team USA veteran did not specifically single out any individual, but she did say that there is an adjustment period that has to be taken into factor when discussing the levels between the NCAA, WNBA, and international competition. 

“The game of basketball is all about evolving. It’s all about getting comfortable with your surroundings,” Taurasi said to USA Today. “College basketball is much different than the WNBA than it is overseas. Each one almost is like a different dance you have to learn. And once you learn the steps and the rhythm and you have a skill set that is superior to everyone else, everything else will fall into place.”

MORE: Full USA women’s basketball team for 2024 Paris Olympics

Taurasi knows better than anyone how hard it is being one of the youngest players among talented veterans. In 2004, she was named to the Olympic women’s basketball team that summer, just after graduating from UConn. The forward needed time to adjust and credited the elder players on the team for teaching her what she needed to know.

“I was the youngest on that team by far. Just amazing, amazing veterans took me under their wing and really showed me the ropes,” Taurasi says of playing with all-time greats such as Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes, Dawn Staley, and Tina Thompson.

“Talk about the Mount Rushmore of basketball, I was right there watching their every move. The way they prepared. How serious they took it. I had to learn the ropes too.”

To the surprise of no one, Clark has taken this ordeal in stride. The Fever rookie said that she isn’t viewing her omission as a snub, but rather extra motivation for her to achieve that dream in four years. 

MORE: Christie Sides explains Caitlin Clark’s reaction to Olympic team omission

“I think it just gives you something to work for,” Clark said. “That’s a dream. Hopefully one day I can be there. I think it’s just a little more motivation. You remember that. Hopefully, when four years comes back around, I can be there.”

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