Caitlin Clark annual salary exposes alarming wage disparity with highest paid player in WNBA ever

Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark at team practice.
Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark at team practice.

Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark is still making the headlines in women's basketball. Reports about Clark's base salary in the WNBA have ruffled some feathers among fans and basketball pundits. Under the WNBA's current CBA, she will earn $76,535 in her first year with the Indiana Fever.

Clark's first-year salary pales in comparison to Las Vegas Aces guard Jackie Young, currently the highest-paid player in the WNBA, who will receive $252,450 in 2024 alone.

The disparity of salaries between the two athletes is so staggering, that US President Joe Biden dropped his two cents about it on social media.

"Women in sports continue to push new boundaries and inspire us all. But right now we're seeing that even if you're the best, women are not paid their fair share. It’s time that we give our daughters the same opportunities as our sons and ensure women are paid what they deserve."

Veteran Jackie Young gets the nod in terms of years of experience in the WNBA as opposed to Cailin Clark, who has yet to play her first game in the league. However, the rookie can earn more money outside of her WNBA salary thanks to her NIL deals.

The Huddle Up's Joe Pompliano believes her endorsement deals from Nike, Gatorade, and State Farm, will have the point guard covered.

"Caitlin Clark herself will be fine," Pompliano said. "She recently signed a $28 million signature shoe deal with Nike, and the former Iowa star made millions in NIL money last year through endorsement deals with companies like State Farm, Gatorade, and Panini."

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert defends Caitlin Clark's rookie salary

Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark has yet to play her first game in the WNBA but the ongoing discussions regarding the former Iowa standout's base salary are palpable.

However, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert defended the base salary for rookies under the current CBA, despite Clark being the number-one pick at the recent draft. Engelbert stressed that the Indiana rookie can earn $500,000 in wages in her debut season.

"Let me clarify first, because it's proxy season, right. No CEO, do you just put the base pay in there," the WNBA commissioner said while speaking at the 2024 CNBC Changemakers event. "No, you put their bonus, you put their stock options, you put everything."

The WNBA's regular season opener will feature Caitlin Clark's debut game with the Indiana Fever against the Connecticut Sun on May 14 at 8 pm ET.

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