Caitlin Clark blocks boy's shot in viral video. His side of the story will melt your heart

Updated

Eli wants the world to know, first of all, that his basketball shot Caitlin Clark blocked didn't mean anything in the whole scheme of things. He still smoked her 6-2 in their game of 1-on-1 Tuesday. But it seems the world hasn't heard about that.

Secondly, Eli doesn't see how the block was even allowed. He is pretty short at only 7 years old. Clark is 6 feet tall and 22 years old, not to mention ...

"It wasn't fair. I was playing a WNBA player that's a superstar," Eli told IndyStar on Wednesday, defending his basketball prowess, after he went viral in a video as the boy who got his shot blocked by Clark the Indiana Fever phenom. "I pointed at her and said, 'That's not fair.'"

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But thirdly, and most importantly to Eli and his dad, Dusten, they want people to know something else. The only reason Clark was there in that parking lot in Zionsville, Indiana, with a makeshift basketball goal, playing pickup with Eli and his two sisters, Megan and Ava, is because she took the time out of her day to help as the family's house was built.

Clark, along with Pacers player Isaiah Jackson and more than 200 employees at Group 1001, were in the company's parking lot volunteering for a wall panel build for Habitat for Humanity. Those panels will be the walls of Eli's future home, which are being put into storage until the land is ready for the rest of the house to be built.

If all goes as planned, Eli and his family will move into their new house in Boone County, Indiana, by October or November. And they will never forget all the people who helped them get there. They especially will never forget Clark.

"She didn't have to come. She didn't have to help with the house. She didn't have to play basketball with the kids," said Dusten, whose last name is not being published due to privacy. "But, you know, it just shows what kind of heart she has."

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark with Eli (middle) and his sisters, AVa (left) and Megan (right)
Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark with Eli (middle) and his sisters, AVa (left) and Megan (right)

'It was falling apart'

Dusten has a pretty amazing heart, too. He is a single dad who has had custody of his three children since 2018 when they were all babies and toddlers. "Only by the grace of God," Dusten says, when asked how he does it. "Yeah, only by the grace of God."

He works hard in inventory at LaCrosse Footwear yet has struggled to find a suitable home to raise his kids in. For years, the family owned a trailer. "It wasn't the best trailer," Dusten said. "It was falling apart."

Then in 2021, the trailer Dusten owned caught on fire and became unsafe for the family to live in. Now, he is having to pay rent − $1,300 a month − for another trailer. That rent is almost financially unmanageable for a single father of three kids, ages 7, 8 and 10.

"It went from, you know, needing housing because of my house not being safe anymore to needing housing because the rent is just outstandingly high," he said.

Having a new home, a home where his kids can feel safe means everything to Dusten. The whole Caitlin Clark thing? That's just icing on the cake.

'I want to play on her team'

When Dusten found out Clark would be at the Habitat for Humanity build of his home's walls, he told his kids.

"Dad swore that half of Boone County could hear us," said Ava. Because they all screamed so loud. They were going to get to meet the biggest women's sports superstar of their time. They had no idea Eli would become a viral sensation.

"It's gone all around the world," Eli said. "Well 50% around the world." The video has been posted on every major news organization in America and has seeped into other countries, including the United Kingdom.

Caitlin Clark shoots hoops with Eli (far right) and his sister Megan (wearing the Clark jersey).
Caitlin Clark shoots hoops with Eli (far right) and his sister Megan (wearing the Clark jersey).

Eli is less impressed with that and more focused on his next goal.

"I want to go to a Fever game. I want to go to a Fever game really bad and I really, really want to see Caitlin Clark's teammates," he said. "Yeah, and I want to play on her team."

For now, Eli and his sisters have autographed jerseys from both Clark and Jackson, which they plan to get framed and hang in the bedrooms of their new house that Clark helped build.

"She is such a wonderful person. Depending on where you go, she gets such a negative light, but she's such a wonderful person," said Dusten. "It means something that she was willing to take her time out to do that for us. It means everything to us."

Follow IndyStar sports reporter Dana Benbow on X: @DanaBenbow. Reach her via email: dbenbow@indystar.com.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Caitlin Clark blocks 7-year-old's shot in viral video. He responds

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