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WNBA No. 1 Pick Caitlin Clark Will Make Less Than 1% of the Average NBA Player

WNBA No. 1 Pick Caitlin Clark Will Make Less Than 1% of the Average NBA Player

Caitlin Clark, who broke NCAA career points records across both men’s and women’s basketball this year, was the No.1 pick at Monday night’s 2024 WNBA draft. But all the internet can talk about is how, even as the No. 1 pick, she’ll make less than 1% of what the average NBA player makes every year.

Clark, who was picked by the Indiana Fever, will make an estimated base salary of $76,535 in her first year in the WNBA. For comparison, Victor Wembanyama, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA draft, made $10,132,300 in his first year. To put it in a different perspective, Clark will make $338,000 on a four-year rookie deal, while Wembanyma makes $55 million for his rookie deal.

In women’s basketball, salaries are negotiated by the WNBA players’ union. Lower-level draft picks typically make an estimated $64,154 as a base salary, and salaries are much higher for non-rookie players. Still, while the highest-paid WNBA players make over $200,000 in base salary, that’s still a fraction of the average NBA player. The lowest salary for NBA players is $1.1 million, while Las Vegas Aces’ Jackie Young, the highest-paid WNBA player, only makes $252,450.

Clark’s fans were quick to point out the shocking salary online.

Many fans also pointed out that this is an example of the gender pay gap in the U.S.

“The gender pay gap is particularly acute in this example and is disheartening to see given the record number of viewers who tuned in to the women’s NCAA tournament,” Alison Stevens, senior director of HR Services at Paychex, told Newsweek. “Players like Caitlin Clark, Kamilla Cardoso, Cameron Brink and Angel Reese may be the tip of the spear to drive more dollars to the WNBA, as they have all inspired young girls across the country and will certainly draw crowds to the WNBA.”

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