Matt Barnes calls out haters for being ‘fake mad’ on the internet about WNBA players’ salaries

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Former NBA player Matt Barnes called out fans for being “fake mad” about the lower salaries of WNBA players.

The salary for the 2024 WNBA’s Draft’s No. 1 overall pick Caitlin Clark was recently revealed, and she’s making a substantially lower amount of money than Victor Wembanyama, the 2023 NBA Draft’s No. 1 overall pick.

Clark was also offered a major deal by Ice Cube and the BIG3 league, but she decided to go to the WNBA.


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“Everyone’s outraged and now Ice Cube looks like he was onto something,” Barnes said. “But instead of being outraged, you gotta support. You gotta support now. Go to games, watch games on TV, buy merch. Same thing you do for the men, for the NBA side. That’s the only way the WNBA is gonna grow.

“My main question, will the excitement and the love women’s college basketball has captured, will that translate into the NBA. I think there’s a ton of talented rookies that had a lot of great, positive – whether you loved it or not – energy in college that are now in the W. So, will that fan base follow – I think that’s gonna be key.

“All of you that are outraged and mad all of a sudden, like, these salaries have been f—– up. But up until 2020, the WNBA hadn’t really made no profit. The NBA has kind of been floating it. So again, the only way all this s— changes, these women start getting paid the money they’re worth, is y’all go out there and be fans, man, really be fans. Don’t be fake mad on the internet. Go to these games and support these talented women.”

To compare to Clark, who is expected to make less than $80,000 in her rookie season, Wembanyama made over $12 million in his rookie season, according to Spotrac, a huge difference.

Part of the reason for this is due to the amount of revenue that the two leagues bring in year to year. The WNBA made around $200 million in revenue in the 2023 season, a far cry from the NBA’s revenue, which reached $10 billion in a season before.

Still, there are a ton of talented players in the WNBA, and Barnes clearly wants them to get the recognition that they deserve.

One way that WNBA salaries may start to change is if the league lands a new media rights deal. The league currently deals with companies such as ESPN, Prime Video and ION that are set to expire in 2025.

The league’s entire scope of media rights deals across broadcast, cable and streaming platforms are worth a total about $60 million per year.

According to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, the league expects its media rights fees to “at least double” in their next set of deals.

Hopefully, that will help Clark and the rest of the WNBA see an increase in pay in the future. For now, fans can do exactly what Barnes asked and show up to support the women whether it is by physically attending games or watching them as often as they can.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.