Jemele Hill has branded Caitlin Clark’s fame and success partly ‘problematic,’ as the ex-ESPN personality cited the Indiana Fever star’s ‘race and sexuality’ as reasons for her rise.

Clark, last month’s No. 1 overall pick by the Indiana Fever, has signed a $28million Nike contract and received her own signature shoe from the brand – in addition to endorsement deals with the likes of State Farm and Wilson.

However, Hill believes that her success shows an imbalance in how non-white, LGBTQ players are received publicly, as compared with the white and straight Clark.

‘We would all be very naive if we didn’t say race and her sexuality played a role in her popularity,’ Hill told the LA Times.

‘While so many people are happy for Caitlin’s success –  including the players; this has had such an enormous impact on the game – there is a part of it that is a little problematic because of what it says about the worth and the marketability of the players who are already there.’

Caitlin Clark, seen playing for the Fever on Monday, has become a massive celebrity

Caitlin Clark, seen playing for the Fever on Monday, has become a massive celebrity

Jemele Hill said part of Clark's success is 'problematic' in an interview with the LA Times

Jemele Hill said part of Clark’s success is ‘problematic’ in an interview with the LA Times

Hill continued,  ‘It’s not jealousy. It’s just the fact that in our society, Black women are often erased from the picture.

‘While Caitlin Clark’s success should be widely celebrated, there are various points where we have seen dynamic phenoms and how they have been able to popularize the game. It’s just that, for whatever reason, could be race, could be gender, could be a myriad of factors, that same marketing muscle that seems very intentional about making sure that Caitlin Clark is a superstar was missing for them.’

Hill’s comments follow recent comments from Las Vegas Aces star A’Ja Wilson, who admitted that race was a ‘huge thing’ in Clark’s rise in popularity.

Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, was awarded a signature Nike earlier this month – after the rookie Clark.

‘I think a lot of people may say it’s not about Black and white, but to me, it is,’ she told the AP.

‘It really is because you can be top notch at what you are as a Black woman, but yet maybe that’s something that people don’t want to see.

A'ja Wilson says it 'boils my blood' when people believe that race isn't a factor in marketability

A’ja Wilson says it ‘boils my blood’ when people believe that race isn’t a factor in marketability

‘They don’t see it as marketable, so it doesn’t matter how hard I work. It doesn’t matter what we all do as Black women, we’re still going to be swept underneath the rug. That’s why it boils my blood when people say it’s not about race because it is.’

For her part, Clark responded, ‘the more love we can share, the better.’

‘Yeah, I think there are opportunities for every single player in women’s basketball,’ Clark said, when asked about Wilson’s remarks. ‘I think the more opportunities we can give across the board, that’s what’s going to elevate women’s basketball. It doesn’t need to be one or two players. I think that even goes back to college.

‘The parity in women’s basketball is what’s making more people want to come and watch it. And I think the more we can spread the love, show people, show their talents, show their teams, that’s just going to continue to elevate it. I think that’s the biggest thing.’