Watch: Loud Forklift Disrupts Caitlin Clark’s Presser Day Before Big UConn Matchup

Watch: Loud Forklift Disrupts Caitlin Clark’s Presser Day Before Big UConn Matchup

It’s something special when the women’s NCAA basketball tournament is garnering more interest than the men’s. That’s certainly the case this year, particularly with the matchup of Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and LSU’s Angel Reese on Monday being the 21st-century female version of the epic 1979 matchup between Michigan State’s Magic Johnson and Indiana State’s Larry Bird, which helped assure that March Madness would be a permanent fixture on the sporting calendar.

In fact, the stakes are heightened by the fact that — unlike Johnson and Bird, who were both likable individuals who would go on to be both friends and rivals — Reese has played the role of the pro-wrestling heel while Clark has remained affable and humble throughout.

After Reese repeatedly taunted Clark — the Hawkeyes point guard who is now the all-time NCAA women’s top scorer — during last year’s championship game, Clark didn’t return the favor when Iowa beat the Tigers in a blockbuster Elite Eight matchup that saw Reese underperform expectations.

And, if you need further evidence of the star’s humility, one need only look to an incident with a forklift at a news conference during the build-up to the Final Four in Cleveland this weekend.

Yes, a forklift.

See, the genius event planners — apparently unaware that the women’s tourney is basically the big sports ticket — decided to hold the news conference “in the middle of a loading dock and the only thing between us and the forklifts is a curtain,” Adam Jacobi, University of Iowa sports beat writer, wrote in a social media post on Thursday.

And yet Clark didn’t flinch or even seem upset about it.

The full news conference was a bit more coherent than that — but it’s worth noting there were still plenty of interruptions and Clark didn’t break her cool.

Now, it’s only speculation as to what Reese would have done were she in this position. (She is not; with her Tigers eliminated, the so-called Bayou Barbie announced she was going pro and hoped to become “one of the greatest basketball players to play.”)

“I’ve done everything I wanted to in college,” Reese told Vogue. “I’ve won a national championship, I’ve gotten [Southeastern Conference] Player of the Year, I’ve been an All-American.”

Yes, but she didn’t win the most-watched women’s basketball game of all time — with an estimated 12 million people tuning in to watch Clark’s Hawkeyes defeat Reese’s Tigers 94-87.

However, it’s a bit easier to see Reese pitching a bit of a ruckus about being forced to share a Final Four news conference with the sound of forklifts. You don’t get the nickname “Bayou Barbie” for having a shrinking violet’s personality.

Not that there’s anything wrong with this. As someone whose two favorite athletes at age 10 were New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor and Formula One bad boy Ayrton Senna, I can speak from experience that it’s fun to root for the heel.

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Similarly, however, it’s also fun to see someone like Brock Purdy, Derek Jeter or Caitlin Clark be the hero(ine).

And make no mistake, that’s been part of the fun with Clark: She’s engaging but humble, someone you wouldn’t mind sharing a beer with but who will also probably smack WNBA competitors around for years to come. And she didn’t let a cacophony of forklifts get her out of sorts.

That being said, she has more to worry about than loading dock equipment. Reese may be out of the way, but Iowa’s Final Four matchup against UConn pits her against another one of the sport’s top stars, Paige Bueckers.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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