Gil’s Arena BATTLES Over Caitlin Clark vs Angel Reese

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WNBA great turns Angel Reese ‘bully’ question into Caitlin Clark accusation

WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes wasn’t having it when former NBA point guard Gilbert Arenas said Sky rookie Angel Reese is a “bully” on the court.

During a recent installment of his “Gil’s Arena” podcast, Arenas and Swoopes discussed the discourse surrounding Reese’s flagrant foul on Caitlin Clark in Chicago’s 91-83 loss to the Fever on Sunday.

Arenas, who said he doesn’t believe Reese is a dirty player, explained that she “is built for trying to be a bully” with her “rugged style” of play — and that Clark is a flopper.

Gilbert Arenas and Sheryl Swoopes talk about the Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark foul discourse and WNBA storylines on his "Gil's Arena" podcast on June 17, 2024.
Gilbert Arenas and Sheryl Swoopes talk about the Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark foul discourse and WNBA storylines on his “Gil’s Arena” podcast on June 17, 2024.

“She’s not a bully,” Swoopes, a three-time WNBA MVP, said. “I mean, if you want to talk about bullies, we can talk about every time Caitlin [Clark] has the ball she pushes off. I’m just saying.”

Reese — who was called for five fouls, which were mostly in the paint — was whistled for a flagrant 1 when her forearm came down and struck Clark in the head while the Fever guard was driving to the hoop.

Afterward, Reese called it a basketball play, and Clark explained that the physicality and competitiveness is good for game.

Sheryl Swoopes and Gilbert Arenas talk about the Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark foul discourse and WNBA storylines on his "Gil's Arena" podcast on June 17, 2024.


Sheryl Swoopes and Gilbert Arenas talk about the Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark foul discourse and WNBA storylines on his “Gil’s Arena” podcast on June 17, 2024.

Arenas explained that Reese’s hard fouls get media attention because she leans into the villain role.

“She physically can handle herself,” Arenas said, comparing Reese to Warriors star Draymond Green, who’s been suspended by the NBA numerous times for aggressive play. “… The way she plays the game is a rugged style. She’s built for let’s combat, put our hard hats on. I don’t care who it is.

“… One’s a flopper. We know that. We understand that… One is built for taking flops. That’s just the way she’s built her game. So any contact she feels she’s gonna flop a little bit and that’s how she sells her fouls.

“But with Angel, she’s rugged. She’s built for trying to bully. She’s a bully, right. No one feels sorry for the bullier.”

Angel Reese #5 of the Chicago Sky reacts after fouling Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever during the second half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on June 16, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Angel Reese #5 of the Chicago Sky reacts after fouling Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever during the second half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on June 16, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.Getty Images

Angel Reese #5 of the Chicago Sky fouls Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever during the second half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on June 16, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Angel Reese #5 of the Chicago Sky fouls Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever during the second half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on June 16, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.Getty Images
Arenas added that Reese and Clark are both under a microscope because they entered the WNBA with celebrity status.

“It’s the clip they wanna post because they’re gonna get all these likes and reposts, but that’s a basketball play,” Swoopes said of Reese’s foul. “She hit her on the head, so, of course, it should be upgraded to a flagrant 1. The ref looked at it. They upgraded it. Can we keep playing basketball?

“My thing is, every time Caitlin gets fouled we can’t make it seem like she was assaulted. Fouling is a part of basketball. You can look at a whole lot of different games and players and clips. A’ja Wilson when they played Dallas, A’ja had a bloody nose, a black eye — it’s basketball.

“… Then you got to social media and immediately, ‘Oh my goodness, she’s trying to take her out,’ [and] ‘she should be suspended.’ Who are you? And what did you do?”

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) looks for an open teammate on Sunday June 16, 2024, during the game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on June 16, 2024.
Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) looks for an open teammate on Sunday June 16, 2024, during the game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on June 16, 2024.Jacob Musselman / USA TODAY NETWORK
The podcast episode — titled “Gil’s Arena BATTLES Over Caitlin Clark vs Angel Reese” — centered around a Clark-Reese debate.

The conversation began when Swoopes explained that there wasn’t uproar when Sun star Alyssa Thomas was ejected for a hard foul on Reese during Connecticut’s 86-82 win over the Sky on May 25 — compared to the commotion over when Sky guard Chennedy Carter was called for a flagrant foul on Clark during the Fever’s win over the Sky on June 1.

“But she has the advantage of an Allen Iverson or [Steph] Curry because they’re light, they can hit you, do all the little cheap stuff and if you hit them they’re going to flop and fall,” Arenas said. “That’s just the benefit of being a guard.”

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) dribbles around Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter (7) on Sunday June 16, 2024, during the game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on June 16, 2024.
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) dribbles around Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter (7) on Sunday June 16, 2024, during the game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on June 16, 2024.Jacob Musselman/ For IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK
Swoopes explained that she was frustrated over the lopsided discourse.

“Basketball is a physical sport,” she said. “It just is and I think what people are doing or saying when it comes to Angel Reese, Chennedy Carter, when it comes to the Chicago Sky, I think it’s coming from people that really don’t know the game and understand basketball.”

Swoopes also said she would pick Reese — who’s averaging a double-double — to win Rookie of the Year at the time of her appearance on Arenas’ podcast.

“To me, the stuff that Angel brings is one, she’s gonna play hard, period. It doesn’t matter who they’re playing… Rebound is about effort and I want it more than you … that is the best part of Angel’s game right now.”

The Fever face the Mystics in Indiana on Wednesday, while the Sky play the Wings in Chicago on Thursday.

Chicago hosts Indiana on Sunday.