College basketball stars Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark SHARE Sporting News’ Athlete of the Year award but fans slam joint choice and bizarre cover

2023 was a catalyst year for women’s catalyst basketball with the NCAA National title game – Iowa vs LSU, Clarke vs Reese – drawing in just under 10 million viewers on average to the broadcast.

Clark and Reese are stars away from the court in their own right too with the Iowa star featuring in a national State Farm advert and the ‘Bayou Barbie’ making the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Both athletes had a strong claim to Sporting News’s title with Reese’s national title with LSU arguably edging her ahead of Clark.

But sports fans on social media were left fuming with the decision to split the award between the two players.

Reese was named Most Outstanding Player at the Women’s Final Four and a first-team All-American and out of the two ‘Athletes of the Year’ she is the only one to wear a championship ring.

And some fans took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to claim that it was unfair for Reese to share the cover with Clark.

Many referenced the championship game, claiming it should have separated the pair, determining who won the award.

‘Caitlyn Clark & Angel Reese went head up in a Trophy- Loser Leaves Town game & got smoked,’ one fan posted. ‘I’m sorry but that needs to be Angel’s award, they playin with that young lady for Ms. Styrofoam Cup & it’s upsetting me & my homeboys.’

Another added: ‘Of [sic] only there were a contest to determine which were better.’

One social media user asked: ‘Whatever happen to one person winning?’

Others appeared to suggest that White privilege played a role in the decision with one user writing: ‘They made the winner share the cover with the loser? Damn, that’s some privilege. I don’t celebrate losers in America.’

‘Yet again, the Black person has to share the stage with the white person, even when they won,’ another chimed in.

However, others argued that Clark warranted her own award, claiming Reese is not ‘in the same galaxy’ as the Hawkeyes star.

Clark is on track to become the leading career scorer in Division I women’s history, likely to overtake Kelsey Plum in late February, if she maintains her current output.

She also scored more points in a single NCAA Tournament than any other player in history.

‘lol even including Angel in Caitlin’s conversation is laughable,’ one fan posted. ‘Also, well done creating a cover that promotes the divide. Definitely not intentional, I’m sure of it.’

Another acknowledged Reese’s talent but claimed that Clark had had a greater impact on women’s basket ball.

‘Angel Reese is a great player and national Champion, but she hasn’t done what Caitlin Clark has done for women’s basketball,’ they posted. ‘Not even in the same galaxy.’

Another referenced the now-iconic moment, Reese used Clark’s own ‘can’t see me’ celebration on her during the final.

They said: ‘Reese is famous for mocking Clark during a game, Clark is selling out arenas across the country. Did I miss something?’

Meanwhile, others simply had a problem with the cover itself with many mocking it for looking like true crime poster.

Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark deserve a cover that doesn’t look like it’s a promo for a true crime documentary,’ one said.

‘Are they also missing? Do we need to call Nancy Grace?’ one joked, referencing former prosecutor and anchor of Fox’s Crime Stories TV program.

That’s the worst pic I’ve ever seen,’ one slammed, while another added: ‘This looks like a true crime photo wtf.’

This season Clark and the Hawkeyes top the Big Ten, going 11-1 overall, while the Tigers are undefeated since losing their opening game of the season to Colorado.

Reese was mysteriously away from Kim Mulkey’s LSU team, missing four games last month, with the head coach refusing to disclose a reason for the absence.

But she returned in LSU’s 64-82 win against Virginia Tech on November 30, dropping 19 points.