Basketball Star Caitlin Clark Shines on Saturday Night Live Stage

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In the heart of New York City, in front of a thrumming live audience, Iowa’s basketball sensation, Caitlin Clark stole the spotlight on the hallowed stage of “Saturday Night Live.” Her unexpected foray took place during the show’s much-revered “Weekend Update” segment, and it was a surprise that was weeks in the making.

The first hint of Clark’s appearance came to her during the unprecedented excitement of the Final Four, but by her own admission, the full reality of her sitcom debut didn’t sink in until she arrived on the set. “I didn’t know the script until I showed up and saw it, and was like, this is very good,” Clark confided, reflecting on her initial reaction.

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The thrill of setting the record straight about women’s sports, she revealed, was uniquely exhilarating. Performing in front of an enthusiastic crowd, Clark experienced an adrenaline rush that dwarfed the nervous energy brought on by a basketball match. Undoubtedly, this had been a dream experience for Clark, one that she could tick off her bucket list.

Currently in New York for the much-anticipated WNBA draft, Clark, as the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer, is tipped to be Monday night’s top pick by the Indiana Fever. Her television stint came about after SNL anchor Michael Che made a tongue-in-cheek jest about the retirement of her Iowa jersey. Laughing best and last, Clark had Che read out a few zingers she had crafted at his expense.

Clark’s unexpected appearance gathered the excited buzz of the fellow cast members, many of whom confessed to being athletes at heart. Nothing compared, however, to those heart-thumping moments before she was launched onto the stage.

As she stood beneath the spotlights, the Iowa native dispensed a poignant tribute to her impending basketball transition, extending heartfelt appreciation to her stalwart predecessors. “I’m sure it will be a big first step for me, but it’s just one step for the WNBA thanks to all the great players like Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, Cynthia Cooper, the great Dawn Staley, and my basketball hero, Maya Moore,” Clark eulogized, ever so grateful to the greats who “kicked down the door” for her.

Later, Clark rejoined the cast at show’s end, sharing the limelight with her erstwhile Hawkeye teammates, Kate Martin, Gabbie Marshall, and Jada Gyamfi. “The producer asked if they wanted to go up on stage at the end. They got a little shellshocked at first, but it’s cool that I can share these moments with them.” Clark shared.

While she watched the first half of the show from the cocoon of the dressing room, Clark burst forth to enjoy musical guest, Chris Stapleton’s second performance right from the set. Her whirlwind SNL gig marked the climax of an especially eventful week for Clark, which had begun with her accepting the John R. Wooden Award in Los Angeles, followed by a celebratory rally at the Iowa arena, ending with her vivacious SNL appearance in New York. Certainly, a week she would forever cherish.