The Stunning Transformation Of Angel Reese

Angel Reese will go down in history as one of the WNBA's most memorable rookies. After dominating in the collegiate sphere, the Chicago Sky forward quickly shot to fame — partly due to a highly-publicized rivalry with Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark — and hasn't missed a beat since. She's opinionated and often recognizes how the media has historically pitted two women against each other. In October 2023, Angel told the press (via LSU Tigers), "They always put a good girl and a bad girl and ... It's just going to be what it is, and I'll take that I'm going to be the bad guy, but I know I've grown women's basketball and I know I'm being positive, and I know that I've inspired people."

Reese certainly isn't all talk and no action. As of June 2024, she averages 13 points and 11 rebounds in the WNBA. In a nail-biting June 2024 game between the Sky and the Fever, Reese scored an impressive 25 points to help the Sky secure an 88-87 win. She was beaming in a post-game interview with ESPN, saying, "I'm a dawg! You can't teach that. Imma go out and do whatever it takes to win, and every single night, my teammates rely on my energy."

While the self-proclaimed "Bayou Barbie" has a complicated relationship with the media circus surrounding her, Reese's hard work speaks for itself. Her untold truth is quite intriguing, and so is the story of her journey to the top.

She was raised in Baltimore, Maryland

Angel Reese was born to Angel Webb Reese and Michael Reese on May 6, 2002. On June 30, 2003, the family welcomed her brother, Julian Reese. Angel and Julian took after their parents, both of whom played basketball in college. Michael was a top scorer at Boston College and Loyola University Maryland and was once suspended over an alleged assault in 1992. Webb, on the other hand, was a forward with exceptional skills at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). They would both go on to play the game professionally in the United States and overseas.

The couple split, and Webb raised her children in Baltimore, Maryland, on her own. As a kid, Angel often shot hoops with Julian. "I started playing basketball when I was younger, about 4 years old," Angel recalled in an interview with the "Riser Diaries Podcast," and added, "It was always just me and my brother playing, and then my mom was the coach." Angel has on-court sibling rivalry to thank for her competitive spirit. She and Julian were so aggressive when playing, that their mom had to remove the basketball hoop from their front yard. "We used to, like, compete so hard and like, go at it and kill each other," Angel remembered.

She was a star basketball player in high school

Angel Reese attended St. Frances Academy in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. From the get-go, it was clear that a career in basketball was inevitable for the talented player. Reese's high school coach, Jerome Shelton, told WMAR, "Angel, we thought when she was playing here, had the potential to play at the next level ... I always said that the bigger the crowd, the better she played."

Reese impressively won four championships in high school. In the HoopGurlz Class of 2020 by ESPN, she was ranked second overall after the University of Connecticut's Paige Bueckers. St. Frances Academy eventually retired Reese's No. 10 jersey in January 2023, a never-before-seen achievement by a female athlete in the school's history. The No. 10 is special to Reese, since it was worn by her mother during her days as a basketball player.

In December 2023, Reese paid a visit to her alma mater, and she couldn't help but be nostalgic about her high school experience. Reese took pictures at the John & Joanne Phelps gymnasium where she trained, and recalled, "So many memories that were made in there ... just a sisterhood. [I] had so much fun with those girls and I'll always remember, and I always will come back here ... just to be a part of this family because I love them so much."

Angel Reese was signed by the Maryland Terrapins

As a high-ranking prospect in the class of 2020, Angel Reese was heavily in demand. Her scope of choices eventually came down to the University of Maryland – College Park, the University of South Carolina, the University of Southern California, Syracuse University, and the University of Tennessee. In a June 2019 interview with ESPN, Angel said of the team she was hoping to get into, "I'm looking for a team that is family-oriented — a home away from home."

In the end, she committed to the Maryland Terrapins. Although her decision was partly influenced by the fear of being away from home, after solidifying her spot at Maryland, the weight of making such a life-changing choice was lifted off her shoulders ahead of her senior year. Angel explained to Hoop Haven at the time, "It was a great decision. I'm so happy that it's over because now I can just relax ... I just gotta get ready to graduate [and] get ready for college."

At a point in time, Angel and her brother, Julian Reese, both played for the Terps. The siblings bonded off the court, as Angel shared in an interview with What's Up? Media. "We usually hang out in each other's rooms," she told the publication. "He has a dog, so I will go hang out with his dog. We also see each other in the gym, and we will eat dinner together sometimes."

She suffered two major injuries in college

When she started her rookie year with the Maryland Terrapins, Angel Reese was doing well with an average of 17 points during the first three games. In her fourth game, however, she suffered a toe fracture. It was an emotional period for Reese, who didn't expect to be forced off the basketball court because of an injury. "I told myself that was the only day I could cry," Reese recalled in an interview with The Athletic. "So, I cried that first day and all night." She was meant to be on the bench for three months, but Reese made a comeback over a month earlier than expected, in time for a game against the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Terps beat the Hawkeyes 111-93, and she recorded eight points.

Sadly, that wasn't Reese's only injury. For the better part of her college and WNBA career, Reese has often looked stylish in a single legging. The reason behind it is an injury she incurred before her sophomore year with the Terps. "I had surgery two years ago on my shin. I have a rod in my leg," Reese revealed at a press conference (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."

Angel Reese entered the transfer portal and moved to LSU

On April 6, 2022, Angel Reese entered the transfer portal. The move was quite unexpected since Reese was successful on her home state university's team, with a 17.8 point average per game. Nearly a month after word broke out that she was ready to leave, Reese announced that she joined the Louisiana State University Tigers by tweeting, "TIGER NATION WHAT'S GOOD???" accompanied by pictures from her media day shoot.

Reese had a good reason for choosing the Tigers amongst other contenders like the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Tennessee Lady Volunteers: their famed head coach, Kim Mulkey. The sought-after player said, "I chose LSU and Kim Mulkey because of the winning culture. I trust in Coach Kim and her staff to help develop me into the player I need to be for the next level. Her resume speaks for itself and I want to continue that here at LSU."

According to a conversation Reese had with Just Women's Sports, she took a trip to Baton Rouge at the recommendation of her longtime friend, LSU forward Kateri Poole. Poole had just wrapped up a two-year run with the Ohio State Buckeyes, and was looking for a new team as well. When they got there, they were wowed by good old Southern hospitality, which convinced both of them to say yes.

The competition between Reese and Caitlin Clark heated up

Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark faced each other three times before their 2023 NCAA title game. At the time, Reese played for the Maryland Terrapins. The Terps beat the Iowa Hawkeyes each time, although Clark put up points as high as 34. The public pitted them against each other back then, but during the Louisiana State University Tigers' quest for a national championship in April 2023, things between the two heated up.

It all began when Reese flashed John Cena's "You Can't See Me" gesture at Clark. She also repeatedly pointed at her ring finger to signify that a win was on the way. Reese received backlash for teasing Clark, even though the latter had done the John Cena gesture, too, in an earlier game against the Louisville Cardinals. The Tigers ended up winning the national title (details on this next).

Reese and Clark gave the public more to talk about when they got to the WNBA. In a June 2024 game between the Chicago Sky and the Indiana Fever, Reese was called for a flagrant foul on Clark: the forward tried to block a shot by Clark, and the latter was sent sprawling on the floor. An uproar followed on social media, but Clark dismissed the dirty tactic as another element of the game. "It's just a part of basketball. It is what it is. She's trying to make a play on the ball and get the block," Clark said at a press conference (via CBS).

She helped the Tigers win the team's first NCAA title

On April 2, 2023, Angel Reese and the Louisiana State University Tigers won their very first national championship. The Tigers recorded a 102-85 win against the Iowa Hawkeyes, and Reese put up 15 points with 10 rebounds. She was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Although she received the most attention, Reese didn't forget to acknowledge the efforts of her teammates in an on-court interview with Women Hooping. She attributed LSU's success to good camaraderie, saying, "It's no one-man show around here. When I go down, the next man is up."

The Tigers put in a lot of work toward their big day, but Reese maintained that the win came sooner than she had thought. [1:06:48] "I had so many goals coming into LSU, but I didn't think I was gonna win a national championship within my first year at LSU," she told the press, and went on to dedicate her win to girls with a vocal personality like hers.

"This was for the girls that look like me, that's gonna speak up on what they believe in ... This was bigger than me tonight," she remarked. Both the Tigers and the Hawkeyes were later invited to the White House by FLOTUS Jill Biden, which led to a short-lived beef between Reese and the first lady.

She signed an endorsement deal with Reebok

Growing up, Angel Reese was clueless about how much money she could make in professional basketball, as she shared with the "Riser Diaries Podcast." When she started commanding small checks as a Maryland Terrapin, Reese saved most of her money. Her income eventually soared when the shoe retailer Reebok came calling in May 2023.

Reese had many reasons to work with the brand. First, she was intrigued by the star power and experience of their president and fellow LSU alum, Shaquille O'Neal, as she said in a chat with the company. Secondly, Reese was excited by the idea of making history as Reebok's first women's basketball signee. Last but not least, she chose the brand over any other because of the level of creative freedom she would be afforded. "They're, like, letting me be the creative behind, like everything I want to do," Reese revealed during a live video session, "So, like, I'm having my own shoe line coming out, merch."

As more money was flowing fast into Reese's pockets, she sought the services of a financial advisor at her mom's request. She managed to get organized, but there's a bit about finances she didn't quite like — giving Uncle Sam his dues. Reese told "Riser Diaries Podcast." "I was sad the first time, but, I mean, you don't want the IRS coming after you. So, I'mma pay what I gotta pay."

Angel Reese and Cam'Ron Fletcher dated and broke up

Toward mid-2023, Angel Reese set tongues wagging when she featured Florida State Seminoles guard Cam'Ron Fletcher in her social media posts. Reese confirmed that they were an item in a June 2023 appearance on the "1 Star Recruits" podcast. "Cam'Ron is my boyfriend," Reese boldly stated, and further shared her views on dating across different states as they were at the time: "Long distance relationships — they are hard, but communication is key. Me and Cam'Ron have known each other for six years, so that kinda help[s] ... We both play the same sport, so we understand each other's schedule."

The couple was all loved up in a Jamaican vacation two months later, and documented their getaway in since-deleted pictures. They seemed to be going steady in December 2023, since Fletcher commissioned artwork of some of Reese's highly publicized moments as a Christmas present; when she pointed at her ring finger in a game with the Iowa Hawkeyes, when she held the NCAA title trophy afterward, and when she won an ESPY award for the best breakthrough athlete.

In March 2024, Reese revealed her single status during an Instagram live session. "Yeah, I'm single," the basketball prodigy told her followers (via People). "I don't got no man. Don't attach me to no man. That's all I'mma say. That's it."

She was picked by the Chicago Sky in the 2024 WNBA draft

In April 2024, Angel Reese announced her exit from college basketball in an interview with Vogue and further revealed that she was eyeing the WNBA. Not long after, she was selected by the Chicago Sky in the 2024 draft as the 7th overall pick. Reese told NBC Chicago of the very moment she learned she would be a Sky, [1:57] "When I heard my name, I just dropped my head and just started, like, getting emotional because I was just so happy." The pick, she said, validated all the hard work she had put into the game.

When she got to the league, Reese didn't slow down. On June 20, 2024, she made WNBA rookie history by putting up 16 points and 18 rebounds. Reese's shady on-court mannerisms didn't change either. In a June 9, 2024 game between the Chicago Sky and the Atlanta Dream, she was seen trash talking Dream forward, Naz Hillmon, after the latter blocked her shot.

There's no doubt that Reese has made the game interesting. She also isn't shy about voicing her contributions, despite Caitlin Clark being hailed in the media as the poster child of women's basketball. Reese told ESPN in a June 2024 interview, "The reason why we watching women's basketball is not just because of one person, it's because of me, too, and I want ya'll to realize that ... A lot of us have done so much for this game."

Angel Reese keeps things 'flexible' beyond the WNBA

Angel Reese is just as involved in her other interests beyond the basketball court. Time and again, she has emphasized her love for fashion. In May 2024, she got heads turning when she showed up to the Met Gala in a number from 16 Arlington's fall 2023 set. Reese flew to New York for fashion's biggest night in a private jet, and returned in time for a preseason game against the New York Liberty. Against her critics' judgement, she scored 13 points during her WNBA debut.

"You got to maximize your life," She told ESPN of her versatility. "You don't get these opportunities. A lot of people don't get these opportunities and I just try to do as much as I can with the time I do get. This is kind of [the] flexibility of not being in college anymore. And this is what I kind of look forward to — being able to be a pro and being able to be flexible."

As far as flexibility goes, Reese is making big money moves to set herself up for the future. In late May 2024, it was reported that she was joining the founding investor pool of the DC Power Football Club, a soccer team that is part of the USL Super League. At the time of writing, the league's inaugural season is set to commence in August 2024.