Jemele Hill Compares Angel Reese/Caitlin Clark's Rivalry To Magic Johnson/Larry Bird's

Jemele Hill Compares Angel Reese/Caitlin Clark’s Rivalry To Magic Johnson/Larry Bird’s

The rivalry of WNBA rookies, Chicago Sky’s Angel Reese and Indiana Fever’s Caitlin Clark which started while they played for their perspective collegiate teams (Louisiana State University and University of Iowa) has brought out mention of another collegiate rivalry that jumpstarted renewed interest in the NBA in the 1980s. Sports journalist, Jemele Hill likens the comparison of the ladies to the one between Los Angeles Lakers legend, Magic Johnson, and Boston Celtics’ Larry Bird who had a fierce rivalry when both played at their perspective universities (Michigan State University and Indiana State University).

Interest in the WNBA has been its strongest since the league started in 1997 and many have attributed that to the emergence of Clark, who was picked number one in the recent draft. Although the league has been around for almost 30 years, just like the NBA in the 1980s, there has been renewed interest right after these two college women’s basketball players entered the WNBA.

Hill appeared on TMZ and made mention of the women’s rivalry spilling from the college ranks and entering the WNBA in the same way Magic and Bird’s interaction laid the groundwork for their rivalry to reach another height in the NBA.

“Caitlin Clark was certainly surging in popularity before her and Angel Reese actually crossed paths,” she stated. “But the moment Angel Reese did the [you can’t see me gesture], this rivalry and the conversation around them both went to a completely different level.”

The two women met up in the NCAA playoffs two straight years, with Reese and LSU besting Clark and Indiana in 2023 on their way to taking home the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. Earlier this year, the teams matched up in the semi-finals with Indiana knocking LSU out in their attempt to repeat as champions. Indiana lost to eventual unbeaten champions, the University of South Carolina.

“That’s why Larry Bird and Magic Johnson is an appropriate comparison. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson had the most watched men’s national championship game in history, I believe they still have the record.” Hill said. “They brought all of that with them, to the NBA. They had a rivalry from that game and they brought all that with them to the NBA.”

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