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WNBA first round pick Caitlin Clark will earn less than a dental hygienist

Caitlin Clark may have surprised no one when she became the No. 1 overall pick in Monday night’s WNBA draft, but the all-time leading college basketball scorer will reportedly be paid little more than a Manhattan McDonald’s manager and less than a dental hygienist.

According to Spotrac, an elite WNBA rookie of Clark’s status will earn just $76,535 in her first year with the Indiana Fever.

She’ll get a 2% raise in her second year, where the Fever will pay the new face of its franchise $78,066.

The third year of her deal will reportedly be worth $85,873.

If Clark meets expectations — which could mean being the greatest professional basketball player of all time — Indiana can exercise an option to keep the sharpshooting point guard for $97,582 in 2027. That makes her four-year deal worth just over $338,000.

“This is the most competitive league in the entire world,” Clark said after being drafted. “You better bring it every single night.”

While most dental hygienists don’t have millions of fans, jobsite Indeed lists their average annual salary at $78,188. That’s $1,653 more than Clark will earn during the 2024 season.

After Clark graduates from the University of Iowa next month, she could apply to make $76,305 per year as a petroleum engineer. Should she choose to give her knees a break and become a junior software engineer, Indeed says that job pays an average of $75,623 per year. And according to ZipRecruiter, managing a Manhattan McDonald’s can pay around $70,000 annually.

By contrast, NBA rookie Victor Wembanyama will earn $12.1 million this season alone. His four-year contract is good for $55 million, according to Spotrac.

But that isn’t to say anyone should be passing the polyester cap for Clark just yet.

She was worth more than $3 million as the face of companies including Nike and Gatorade in college, according to Business Insider. The Iowa native will likely see her endorsement contracts get bigger as she takes her game to the next level.

She recently appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and has been dubbed “The Taylor Swift of sports” by NBC Sports analyst Dan Patrick.

The WNBA has not returned a request to verify Clark’s salary.


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