Las Vegas Aces' Becky Hammon, A'ja Wilson: Critics getting Caitlin Clark narrative wrong

The narrative surrounding Indiana Fever rookie guard Caitlin Clark has gotten some of the world's biggest stars commenting on her impact on women's basketball and the WNBA.

Las Vegas Aces head coach Becky Hammon and All-star center A'ja Wilson are the latest to weigh in. Ahead of the defending champion's matchup against the Fever on Saturday, Hammon sounded off against "this narrative of everybody hating on her." Hammon added, “Let's be very clear, we love Caitlin Clark … knock it off."

The nation followed Clark's journey to becoming the NCAA's all-time leading scorer at Iowa, and all eyes have remained on Clark as she was drafted to the Fever with the No. 1 overall pick. The Fever have gotten off to a 0-5 start this season, with Indiana and the Washington Mystics remaining as the league's only winless teams. Despite Clark averaging a team-leading 17.8 points and 5.8 assists while shooting 40% from the field, Clark has faced increased scrutiny, along with her team.

'IT'S REALLY SAD': Fever coach, players try to block out social media hate

"I think she's amazing, I watched (Clark) every time I possibly could. And our league loves her," Hammon said. "We are just doing our job. ... Whoever is on the other team is on the other team. We don't really care. We are going to show up and do us."

Becky Hammon, A'Ja Wilson: 'Shut down the noise'

Hammon said critics should give Clark some grace as she adapts to the WNBA: "She’s a 22-year-old woman with a lot of pressure. She’s not perfect. She’s a rookie in this league... Back off."

Wilson backed her coach and explained that she's "exhausted over the conversation" and criticism surrounding Clark, which has been incorrectly misinterpreted as hate toward Clark.

"She’s learning and growing just like every one else. People don’t give her a chance," Wilson said. "We tell our rookies every day that this is new. You’re coming into a whole new world and starting over. The questions are only annoying because (Clark's) young. She’s a rookie. (The media) keeps asking us these questions as if she’s a grown (expletive) woman who has been in this league for years. She’s doing her job and we are doing ours."

LeBron James: 'I’m rooting for Caitlin'

LeBron James said he is rooting for Clark in the WNBA and called out her critics, saying, "I’ve been in that seat before."

Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever fell to 0-5 with a loss to the Seattle Storm.
Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever fell to 0-5 with a loss to the Seattle Storm.

"Don’t get it twisted. Don’t get it (expletive) up. Caitlin Clark is the reason why a lot of great things are going to happen for the WNBA," James said on the Mind the Game podcast.

TNT analyst Charles Barkley called out the WNBA players for being "petty" and should be thanking Clark for the increased exposure to the league.

Elle Duncan: 'This Caitlin Clark rhetoric is tired'

ESPN sportscaster Elle Duncan weighed in on social media and said critics are getting the narrative about Clark wrong. Duncan said this on X, formerly Twitter:

"Hate: Caitlin Clark is trash. Why: Because it’s patently false. Also no one has said this. Not Hate: I (insert veteran W player) think there will be a challenge rt away cause (many yrs of experience) tell me so.

Why: Cause it’s an opinion. Uniquely from a very small elite community of women. You don’t have to agree, that’s sports, but they aren’t subplotting failure. They aren’t ungrateful. They’re pro athletes. They’re competitors. We love that in our men. We revile it in women."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Becky Hammon, A’ja Wilson, Elle Duncan talk treatment of Caitlin Clark