LeBron James 'rooting' for Caitlin Clark: 'I've been in that seat before. I've walked that road before.'

Clark and the Fever have struggled early on as she adjusts to the WNBA.

Caitlin Clark leads the Indiana Fever in scoring, but the team is off to a tough 0-4 start. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Caitlin Clark has learned that success in the WNBA won't come quickly after a decorated collegiate career at Iowa.

The Indiana Fever are tied for last in the league at 0-4, while Clark is leading her team in minutes (31 per game), points (17 pg), assists (5.5 pg) and turnovers (6.5 pg).

Clark's celebrated entrance into the league was not embraced by some of the game's veteran players. Three-time WNBA champion and MVP Diana Taurasi said in April that "reality" is coming — not just for Clark, but also incoming rookies.

“There’s levels to this thing and that’s just life,” Taurasi said. “We all went through it. You see it on the NBA side, and you’re going to see it on this side where you look superhuman playing against 18-year-olds, but you’re going to come with some grown women who have been playing professional basketball for a long time.”

That's life as a rookie in any sport. Most players Clark played against at Iowa won't go on to be professionals. There was always going to be an adjustment period going from a team that reached consecutive national title games to one that had won only 30 out of its last 130 games entering the 2024 season.

One athlete who can relate to the pressure to succeed right away is LeBron James. The 2003 No. 1 overall NBA draft pick was pegged to change the game at age 18 while his high school games were still being broadcast on ESPN.

On the latest edition of the "Mind the Game" podcast featuring James and J.J. Redick, the Los Angeles Lakers star had some simple advice for Clark as she goes through this early period of her professional career.

"My advice to Caitlin, and my advice to anyone that comes in with this level of notoriety, out-of-this-world expectation, whatever the case may be, be a horse, man," James said. "The Kentucky Derby. Put your blinders on, go to work, show up to work, punch your clock in, prepare yourself, work on your game, work on your craft.

"Kind of keep your mouth shut and just learn from the vets. When they ask, voice your opinion if they want your opinion early on because everybody is looking for you to say anything and they're gonna splice it and cut it and make it a negative thing.

"The one thing I love that she's bringing to her sport: More people want to watch. More people want to tune in. ... Don't get it twisted, don't get it f**ked up. Caitlin Clark is the reason why a lot of great things is gonna happen for the WNBA. ... I'm rooting for Caitlin because I've been in that seat before. I've walked that road before. I hope she kills."

James tied the criticism Clark is getting in some corners of the basketball world to the sentiments that have been directed at his son, Bronny, who is expected to be selected in next month's NBA draft.

Bronny James played 23 games for USC during his freshman season and averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. He's expected to be a second-round pick.

"I'm just kind of in this mode right now because I'm getting the same thing from watching my son, who's a 19-year-old getting a lot of animosity and hatred towards him when he's just a kid trying to live out his dream," James said.

Like Clark and the WNBA, Bronny James will enter the NBA with expectations. For Clark, it was that she would immediately dominate like she did in college. For Bronny James, he'll be unfairly compared with his father on a nightly basis.

But as LeBron sees in his son and what he sees from afar with Clark, both are handling this transitional period by ignoring the noise and just playing.

"There's a very small number of men and women that actually get to live out their dream of playing a professional sport," James added. "And we have grown a** men and women out here doing whatever they can to try and make sure that does not happen. That is the weirdest thing in the world, but it is what it is and I'm glad that Caitlin has a great head on her shoulders."