The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Caitlin Clark appears on ‘The Pat McAfee Show’

The newest member of the Indiana Fever stopped by the ESPN show based in Indianapolis on Wednesday morning.
Grace Smith
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark smiles during the 2024 Associated Press Coach and Player of the Year News Conference at Rocket Mortgage Field House in Cleveland, Ohio, on Thursday, April 4, 2024.

Caitlin Clark has had her fair share of TV appearances over the last few days.

She was on “Saturday Night Live” with comedian Michael Che, selected first overall by the Indiana Fever in the 2024 WNBA Draft on Monday, and then she visited ESPN personality Pat McAfee and his crew Wednesday morning.

“The Pat McAfee Show” is an ESPN weekday sports talk show aired from 11 p.m. to 1 p.m. based in Indianapolis, Indiana. McAfee provides a welcoming environment for professional athletes to chat with the crew on national television, and Clark is the latest one to make an appearance.

One of the first questions Clark was asked was if she knew Indiana was going to select her, and she said it was “pretty set in stone.”

“I was hoping the [Indiana] Fever got the first pick,” Clark said. “This is a basketball state, and people love it here. Obviously, Aliyah Boston being on the team, she’s one of my former teammates on Team USA. I’ve just been stoked.”

“People were excited for this opportunity before I was even picked,” she added.

McAfee then proceeded to give Clark her flowers for the player she’s blossomed into, calling her “incredibly confident, as you should be” and saying that she “gets in a zone that not a lot of humans have gotten into.” She credits her work ethic and passion for the game of basketball as to why she’s become a star in the sport.

“I loved basketball growing up,” Clark said of her early basketball years. “My dad played in college. I had an older brother, and he always played, so I’d just tag along with him. I begged my dad to put a hoop in the driveway and tear up some grass and pour some concrete so I could have an entire three-point line … I loved going to the gym all the time … but once I got to middle school and high school, I knew that it was kind of my future.”

One of Clark’s famous followers throughout the 2023-24 season was former Iowa and NFL tight end Dallas Clark. McAfee and Dallas Clark played together on the Indianapolis Colts. When McAfee asked him about Caitlin Clark, he said she reminded him of NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning with “the accountability, the wanting of excellence all the time.”

“I feel like I’m just so fiery and passionate, and I feel like that’s why I’m so good too,” Caitlin Clark said of the comparison to Manning. “If I didn’t have that, I don’t think I’d have the success that I’ve had … I think I’ve been able to channel it a lot more throughout my career and use it more positively than negatively.”

The next question came from Ty Shmidt, a University of Iowa graduate and producer of the ESPN show.

After telling Caitlin Clark how proud he was of her for her accomplishments and her love for the state and the university, he asked the superstar guard if she could’ve envisioned having this kind of impact on women’s basketball.

“I feel like I’ve always had super big goals and aspirations,” Caitlin Clark said. “But at the same time, this is a place women’s basketball has never been before. So no, I never really imagined it on this magnitude … I try to stay right in the middle.”

There’s been a lot of controversy on the internet about current and former WNBA players commenting about her. When asked about it, Caitlin Clark described the chatter about her as “competitive” and “not anything out of the ordinary.”

“It’s the most competitive league in the world because there’s not many spots,” she said. “There’s 12 teams, and not every team carries 12 players … A lot of those people [in the league]  I idolized growing up, so it’ll be fun.”

Before leaving the set, she described some of her goals for her first professional season, the main one being to get the Indiana Fever back to the playoffs.

“I think everyone in the Fever organization believes that’s where we can be in year one,” Caitlin Clark said. “I think there’s just so much young talent on this roster, so the biggest thing is just buying into that. And obviously, the crowds we’re going to have is certainly going to help.”

Toward the end of her appearance, Caitlin Clark jokingly, or maybe not so jokingly, talked about being a weekly guest on the show.

“Deal!” McAfee responded with a smile. “See you next week.”

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Chris Meglio
Chris Meglio, Sports Reporter
Chris Meglio is a first year student at the University of Iowa studying a double major in sport studies and journalism. He will be working as a sports journalist for The Daily Iowan covering women's volleyball for the fall sports season.
Grace Smith
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.