The First Year Salary For WNBA's #1 Draft Pick Caitlin Clark Is Barely More Than An Average Office Worker In Indiana

Her situation is drawing attention to the gender pay gap.

WNBA Caitlin Clark John Mac / Wikimedia Commons

After an incredible college basketball career at the University of Iowa, Caitlin Clark has become a household name. Everyone watched anxiously as she and her fellow Hawkeyes stormed through the women’s national championship game to come in a respectable second to the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.

After her incredible showing for her college team, Clark was a shoo-in for the WNBA draft. Indeed, she was the number one pick. But now that the excitement is settling down, fans are concerned about Clark’s salary in the WNBA.


Caitlin Clark will make an extremely low first-year salary for a professional athlete.

Jack Mac, a journalist with Barstool Sports, made a TikTok addressing Clark’s salary. In her first year in the WNBA, Clark will only make $76,535. 

“I know Caitlin Clark is going to make a lot more money than the numbers behind me,” Mac said, referring to endorsements and other deals. “But where my mind went at first was, thank God she’s living in Indiana because these numbers behind me, I don’t know if you’d be able to live in a lot of major cities in this country.”



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“These are, you know, back office at a bad bank numbers,” Mac continued. “There are kids graduating this semester that will go and work at some consulting firm. They barely put any work into their business degree, and they will be making probably double this.”

According to financial platform Unbiased, “The median income in Indiana is $57,603.” Clark will be making $18,932 more.

Clark will barely be making more than the average worker in Indiana, but her salary draws attention to the gender pay gap.

The salaries for male NBA draft picks look very different. Yahoo Sports reported that it was estimated that the first-round pick would make $10,132,300 in his first year. The 30th pick, the final pick in the first round, will make approximately $2,010,800.



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The pay gap between men and women has often been a subject of conversation. According to the Pew Research Center, “In 2022, American women typically earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. That was about the same as in 2002 when they earned 80 cents to the dollar.”

Despite the fact that women are much more educated now than they used to be, the gender pay gap remains stagnant. People don’t typically think of big names like athletes being affected by the pay gap, but Clark’s situation is evidence that it is very real in every industry.

Although it may not be fair compared to the NBA, Clark’s salary is a breath of fresh air in the world of sports.

While Clark’s salary is not fair, given the amount her male counterparts will be making, it does bring athlete’s salaries into perspective. We live in a world where athletes, like other celebrities, make millions of dollars for doing very little while many others struggle to make ends meet.

In an opinion piece for Bleacher Report, Mihir Bhagat wrote, “Professional athletes are making too much money in a society where salaries and wages are traditionally based on the value of one’s work. In today’s society, one should be paid according to the job’s economic importance and their value to society.”




Athletes definitely work hard. However, their jobs do not hold the same societal importance as those of teachers or firefighters. As Bhagat pointed out, they are simply there to play a game and to entertain.

Because of this, athletes' salaries seem seriously out of touch with reality. Looking at the issue from this perspective makes Clark’s salary feel refreshing. 


Whether you support Clark’s salary or not, there’s no denying her talent. She surely has an incredible future in store.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.