The Untold Truth Of Angel Reese

At the height of her college basketball career, Angel Reese certainly gave the other players a run for their money. In 2023, Reese and her team, the Louisiana State University Tigers, beat the University of Iowa Hawkeyes — the team of her pseudo-competition, Caitlin Clark — to secure the NCAA Division 1 women's basketball national title. That same year, she was named the SEC Player of the Week seven times and won BET and ESPY awards.

After a successful college run, the basketball star announced through an interview with Vogue that she would be entering the 2024 WNBA draft. Reese, who was moved to share the big news like tennis legend Serena Williams did when she made her exit in 2022, told the outlet, "I've done everything I wanted to in college ... My ultimate goal is to be a pro — and to be one of the greatest players to play, ever. I feel like I'm ready."

Reese's WNBA dreams came true when she was picked by the Chicago Sky as the seventh overall selection. There's no doubt that the sky's the limit for Reese — no pun intended — and there's no better time to unearth some lesser-known facts about the basketball prodigy.

Angel Reese was inspired to play basketball by her mom

Angel Reese was born on May 6, 2002 to Michael Reese and Angel Webb Reese. She's a chip off the old block since both her parents played basketball. Her mother was a standout player at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County from 1988 to 1992 and was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame.

Webb raised her daughter and her son, Julian Reese, who was born a little over a year after Angel arrived, on her own after she and Michael split. She ultimately went on to play the game semi-professionally after she finished college, and even played professionally for a time in Europe. Her skill on the court made Angel take great interest in the sport. "I used to go to my mom's games when I was younger. She used to play in a little league, and I used to always go watch her games on Sundays," she recounted to Just Women's Sports. "That was something that was always inspiring to me."

Growing up, Angel's own basketball beginnings were in the small court in their front yard, going against her brother while Webb acted as the umpire-slash-coach. The brother-sister duo developed such a fierce competitive spirit that the court had to be removed. In a chat with ESPN, Angel attributed the tight-knit relationship with her family as the drive she needed to succeed in basketball.

The real reason Angel Reese always wears one legging

The WNBA is no stranger to the one-legging style. Las Vegas Aces center A'ja Wilson is credited with perpetuating the trend back in 2018. While her purpose was to maintain a dose of warmth, it's far from Angel Reese's real reason to rock one legging.

"I had surgery two years ago on my shin. I have a rod in my leg," Reese revealed at a post-game conference in 2023 (via Nola). "Many people don't know that. I cover the scar for one, then my two players that I really admire, Te'a Cooper and A'ja Wilson, they also wear it, too. So it's swag. But I've used it to cover my scar." Prior to going the one-legging way, Reese wore knee-length tights that also matched the colors of her jerseys.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the only injury Reese incurred while playing for the University of Maryland Terrapins. In December 2020, she fractured her toe. The injury not only left her with physical pain, but also warranted emotional turmoil. Upon her rehabilitation coach's suggestion, Reese decided to leave social media for a while in order to pick up habits like meditation and journaling, which changed her approach toward basketball. "I think it was a growth moment for me, and I think I needed that, honestly," she explained to The Athletic at the time. "I just saw the game different, like I was able to ... mature more (by) being able to see basketball differently from a different point of view."

She was afraid of leaving Baltimore

In her hometown of Baltimore, Angel Reese attended and played on the basketball team for St. Frances Academy. She was sought out by many colleges for her basketball prowess, but the thought of leaving her family frightened her. Instead, Reese accepted a scholarship to the University of Maryland and joined the Terrapins. The past was evidently repeating itself, as Reese's mother had the same dilemma when she joined the University of Maryland at the expense of a career with the Virginia Tech Hokies. 

When Reese decided her time with the Terrapins was up and she entered the transfer portal, Reese was still crippled by the fear of being far from her loved ones. "I was scared to go away from home, even coming out of high school ... that's why I stayed home at Maryland, " Reese admitted on the "Paper Route" podcast. Despite the fear, Reese was set to play for the South Carolina Gamecocks.

However, she changed her mind when she visited the LSU Tigers after an invite from her friend, Kateri Poole. "Everything was perfect," Reese, who had been disheartened after getting injured, recalled. "They laid everything out for me as far as my plan, my goals ... and they never promised me points, a statue [or] anything ... I wanted to be happy again. And I wanted to gain confidence again within my game."

The dark side of her mainstream success

In a 2023 game that recorded the most views in NCAA history at the time, the LSU Tigers triumphed over the Iowa Hawkeyes to secure their first NCAA title. Subsequently, Angel Reese and her team received a lot of praise from fans and a controversial invite to the White House from FLOTUS Jill Biden. The tables turned during the next year's March Madness when the Hawkeyes beat the defending champions to secure a spot in the Final Four.

Speaking at a press conference afterward, Reese divulged that she had been harassed by fans since LSU won the NCAA championship. "I don't really get to stand up for myself," an emotional Reese voiced (via ESPN). "I've been through so much. I've seen so much. I've been attacked so many times, death threats, I've been sexualized. I've been threatened. I've been so many things and I've stood strong every single time."

While some accused Reese of being a sore loser, most empathized with the player's plight. Reese's then-teammates, guard Flau'jae Johnson and Hailey Van Lith, testified to her great leadership and called out the media for painting her as a villain. "I know the real Angel Reese," Johnson declared (via Bleacher Report). "And the person I see everyday is a strong person. Is a caring, loving person, but the crown she wear[s] is heavy."

Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso are 'cool'

Ah, a good ol' college basketball rivalry. During their games together, Angel Reese would often butt heads with former South Carolina Gamecocks center Kamilla Cardoso. In a March 2024 game between the LSU Tigers and the Gamecocks, Reese swung her arm while blocking, hit Cardoso in the face, and was called for an intentional foul. Later in the chaotic game, a fight broke out that resulted in the ejection of six players (including Cardoso), but the referees failed to catch one thing — Reese pulling Cardoso's hair at breakneck speed.

In a twist of fate, the pair were both picked by the Chicago Sky in the 2024 WNBA draft. Although fans may have expected a showdown between the college enemies, Cardoso quickly squashed any animosity during her inaugural press conference by saying Reese would be a fantastic teammate. Her sentiments were echoed in a clip that went viral on social media, in which she said, "When we played against each other, yes, I didn't like her. She didn't like me. It's competition. That's what it's called. Like, we're playing against each other. We're playing for something. But we playing together, we cool. Outside of basketball, we cool."

Her secret to winning deceptively simple

Angel Reese has always brought her sassy side – and sometimes shady side – to the court. In an April 2023 game against the Iowa Hawkeyes, Reese caused a stir when she flashed the "You Can't See Me" hand motion at her then-opponent Caitlin Clark. On the surface, there was nothing meek about Reese's competitive spirit on the court, nor was there a lack of pride when she tweeted to call out those who doubted that she could attend the Met Gala and play a game the following day.

It's therefore surprising that Reese is actually modest in her approach to the game when competitors and social media trolls are not involved. Her winning mentality is based purely on humility. In an interview with NBC Chicago, Reese expressed her excitement to work with and learn from her Chicago Sky coach, Teresa Weatherspoon, while also embracing the idea of starting from the bottom. "I love being the underdog," Reese expressed. "I mean, coming in the LSU my first year, going underdog and winning a national championship ... we don't have no place but to go up."

The unexpected reason Angel Reese struggles with the WNBA

In a tweet in which she announced her graduation from LSU, Angel Reese revealed the one thing she wasn't going to miss about being in college — homework. "i don't have to wake up and think about another assignment lmaoooo," the celebrated basketball player wrote. Well, Reese had something else to miss about college aside from her excitement to leave.

Just starting in the WNBA, she quickly learned that the camaraderie she had been accustomed to during after hours at LSU was an alien concept in the league. [2:41] "I don't have to do certain things that I had to do in college. When I go home I'm like, 'What's next?'" Reese told the press (via Chicago State of Mind Sports). "In college I had, like, teamworks, and we knew what was next on the schedule ... I'm on my own now. I'm like, 'Where're we gonna eat?' Everybody like, everybody doing their own thing. So, I'm kind of learning that."

Nevertheless, Reese maintained that she was loving the autonomy that came with adulthood. Another contrast she found to be specific to the WNBA was how fast-paced the environment around her moved. Luckily, she was able to catch up to speed in no time.

Want to date Angel Reese? You must pass this test

Angel Reese was once romantically linked to Florida State Seminoles guard Cam'Ron Fletcher, with whom she shared since-deleted pictures of a romantic Jamaican getaway in August 2023. Months went by, and in a March 2024 Instagram live session, Reese disclosed that the couple had gone their separate ways. In an April 2024 tweet, the basketball sensation revealed that she was still single.

Since Reese seems to be in the dating market as of this writing, who would be her ideal boyfriend? Apparently, there's a test, and it's pretty much God-given. The perfect contender has to be at least taller than her. "Short kings, I'm sorry ... my man need to be up there," Reese, whose height is 6' 3", commented during an interview with The Breakfast Club. She ironically added, "I feel like the short guys, from my experience, they treat tall women a little better than the tall guys."

When she was asked if there were any celebrities who were hitting her DMs since her star was shining so bright, Reese wasn't shy to drop names. She mentioned Drake, Future, DJ Khaled, French Montana, and was quick to add, "They just congratulated me."

The basketball star doesn't believe in being 'one-dimensional'

Angel Reese believes that she's more than a basketball player. It's a claim that she's got backing for, since she scored an impressive 13 points which contributed toward the Chicago Sky's 101-53 win during the preseason debut against the New York Liberty, all after she attended the Met Gala! In a post-game chat with the press, Reese said she shut down outside noise from the media and critics by putting in the work.[1:55] "I went to the Met Gala. Slayed the Met Gala in New York. Came back, slayed against New's what I do," Reese remarked. "Obviously I give a lot of confidence to so many different people and knowing, like, I'm not one-dimensional. Women don't have to be one-dimensional. They don't have to do one thing."

Reese's eye for fashion has always stolen the show. During the 2024 WNBA draft, she showed up in a hooded Bronx and Banco Amalia Noir gown. At the Met Gala, Reese dazzled in a custom revealing mint number from 16Arlington that featured ostrich feathers. Reese, who thought it was surreal that she attended the event on her 22nd birthday, told Vogue, "I feel beautiful in this dress."

Angel Reese was a baller before the WNBA

Long before the WNBA, Angel Reese was making major money moves. In 2023, she revealed that she wasn't in a hurry to get to the WNBA because she was doing well financially. "The money I'm making is more than some of the people that are in the league that might be top players," Reese told the "Paper Route" podcast. When she was asked about any splurges she had made, Reese let it be known that she was right in the middle of buying a Mercedes Benz.

Not long after she made the claim, the promising basketball talent signed an exclusive partnership with collectible publisher Panini. Later that year, Reese came to an endorsement agreement with shoe retailer Reebok under the leadership of four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal.

Reese not only acquires wealth, but she also has a hardly-seen philanthropic side. In an interview with Women's Health, she revealed that she had paid a year's worth of fees for a student at her alma mater, St. Frances Academy. "I gave back to the people who started my journey," she noted, while disclosing her dreams of starting such a program on a bigger scale.