Rolling Out

A’ja Wilson and Black women once again disrespected in favor of Caitlin Clark

Fans chime in
Las Vegas Aces forward A'Ja Wilson talks to guard Jackie Young during practice. (Photo credit: Rashad Milligan for rolling out)

Fans are upset about Nike‘s latest move.

On April 17, the brand announced signing Caitlin Clark to an eight-figure deal and her own signature shoe. Before playing her first professional game, Clark now becomes the third active WNBA player with a signature shoe. The other two are from the New York Liberty: Sabrina Ionescu with Nike and Breanna Stewart with Puma.

In a league of 70% Black women, the majority of the coverage and deals like the one noted above often go to the game’s White stars.

“Even watching a couple of games, say a Black athlete is having a phenomenal game, doing everything right,” Rhyne Howard told rolling out after being the Atlanta Dream’s No. 1 draft pick in April 2022, “they don’t talk about them after the game; they go and talk continuously about somebody else just because they’re a common name.

“I don’t like that, honestly.

“I feel like we’re already a minority, and we already don’t get enough respect. When people are constantly looking for our White counterparts, I guess it hurts a little bit because we’re working equally as hard, if not more, to try to like, even be in the same conversations. It’s just weird.”

Howard has since gone on to become a two-time WNBA All-Star and was the 2022 Rookie of the Year in her two seasons as a pro. This past offseason, she worked as an assistant coach on the University of Florida women’s basketball staff to avoid playing overseas. Howard is signed to the Jordan Brand but does not have a signature shoe.

In Clark’s particular case, fans are looking directly at Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson. Wilson signed with Nike in 2018 and has since been named to five All-Star teams, two MVPs, and two championships. She also helped lead Team USA to an Olympic gold medal in the summer of 2021. Wilson has not yet been given a signature shoe from Nike. She has had a couple of Nike colorways but not her own signature shoe.

She posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, after the news of Clark getting her shoe: “Always remember what is delayed is not denied.” 

Wilson has a strong argument for being the face of the WNBA, as she and Stewart have battled for the title ever since the two joined the league. On social media, she shows her personality and is a very marketable figure. She’s had a cameo in a Saweetie music video, is on the bag of Ruffles twists, and has a New York Times best-selling book with Dear Black Girls.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:
Also read
Rolling Out