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WNBA great says ‘Black people can’t be racist’ as she pushes back on criticism over Caitlin Clark remarks

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Basketball legend Sheryl Swoopes came under fire in recent weeks for comments about her expectations for Caitlin Clark as the Iowa sharpshooter appears poised to be WNBA bound.

Swoopes, in a recent episode of former NBA star Gilbert Arenas’ podcast “Gil’s Arena,” pushed back on criticism that labeled her a racist for her comments and explained that “Black people can’t be racist.”

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Sheryl Swoopes of the Comets poses during the WNBA Finals on Sept. 5, 1999, at the Compaq Center in Houston, Texas. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

“I’m gonna say this and then I want to be done with the whole conversation,” Swoopes said. “For people to come at me and say I made those comments because I’m a racist, first of all, Black people can’t be racist. But that’s the farthest thing from my mind.

“Like, I grew up in a very small West Texas town – predominantly White. My best childhood friend is White. Went to a predominantly White college. Won a national championship, pretty much everyone on the team was White. We’re sisters to this day. That’s not a part of my DNA.”

The former Houston Comets star praised Clark for breaking the Division 1 women’s college basketball record and what she’s done for the women’s game.

Sheryl Swoopes at Athletes Unlimited

Athletes Unlimited and WNBA Phoenix Mercury play by play voice Cindy Brunson and Sheryl Swoopes during a commercial break in an Athletes Unlimited game between Team Mitchell and Team Hillmon on March 11, 2023, at Fair Park Coliseum in Dallas. (Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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“I think her breaking the record is obviously a tremendous accomplishment – although, we can get into that discussion also because there’s a big debate on Lynette Woodard having the actual record. I think what Caitlin has done for, not just college basketball, but for women’s basketball period has been great.

“It just really bothers me, though, when people just take bits and pieces of what they want to take and they don’t listen to everything and you don’t hear everything because I do remember me saying Caitlin, to me, saying Caitlin, to me, could be the best college shooter I’ve ever seen.”

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Sheryl Swoopes in 2023

Sheryl Swoopes attends Women’s Sports Foundation’s Annual Salute To Women In Sports at Cipriani Wall Street on Oct. 12, 2023, in New York City. (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for WSF)

Swoopes explained she was trying to tamp down on expectations for Clark and Angel Reese as they eventually make it to the next level in order to avoid the “bust” label.

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