WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert is basking in the glory that has been the intense focus on the league she leads. 

Whether it’s positive or negative, Engelbert is welcoming all the discourse about superstar Caitlin Clark and the rest of the W. 

“Look, apathy is the death of a brand,” Engelbert told USA Today. “Nobody’s apathetic about the WNBA because we’ve brought in so many new fans into what we call the fan funnel this year. And yeah, some are frustrated for sure. I get a lot of emails that I’ve never got in four years, but that’s because people care.”

A lot of those viewers that have tuned in to the league this season have done so because of Clark, who was a phenom in college and has brought her bright burning star to the professional ranks. 

But Clark has also been given plenty of “welcome to the WNBA” moments since the season started, and a flagrant foul by Chennedy Carter during a game between the Sky and Fever earlier in June created a storm that the league has never seen before. 

The shoulder check on Clark drew outrage from Clark and Fever fans and led to plenty of ink being spilled in newspapers access the country and hot air being expelled on sports debate shows. 

But Engelbert pushed back a bit on any narrative that Clark was being targeted by opposing players and pointed to a recent game between the Fever and Mystics when Clark put up 30 points and made seven 3-pointers. 

“Did anyone say she was targeted in that game?’’ Engelbert asked. “No, because everyone’s just looking for the outcome that they want. “But it’s great fandom. It’s great discussion, and I think obviously we continue to look at or review games after the fact.’’

Though some have bemoaned the over-analysis of every game involving Clark or the seemingly never-ending debate over whether Clark was being targeted, any and all discussion that involves the WNBA is welcome by the commissioner. 

“They care enough to type thousands of emails to me,’’ Engelbert said. “You know, talking about the WNBA, and the physical play. And those aren’t just Caitlin. Those are other players, too, that, like, ‘Cathy you need to do this, you need to do that.’ 

“So people care. I love it.”

Engelbert praised the play of not just Clark but also of fellow star rookies Angel Reese and Cameron Brink, who have both captured the imagination of basketball fans tuning into the WNBA for the first time. 

The head of the league mentioned the rookie class this season had seemed to be “adjusting quicker than I think maybe some in the past.’’

And Engelbert acknowledged the role that Clark has played in the spike in popularity.

“She obviously captures a viewer we haven’t had before, which is great,’’ she said. “We’re thrilled with Caitlin and the generational players that have come in, and we’re thrilled with the rivalries that are being built.’’

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