Shaq Called Angel Reese To Congratulate Her For Protecting $2.5B Reebok Brand, But Should Bayou Barbie’s Bum Ankle Get Credit?

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has taken fellow LSU post player Angel Reese under his wing since Shaq’s daughter Me’Arah O’Neal was shown great concern and care by Reese on a recruiting visit.

Me’rah didn’t choose her father’s alma mater, instead committing to SEC-rival Florida. But Shaq’s increasing fondness of Reese resulted in him walking her out prior to her senior night game. 

Shaq Called Angel Reese After LSU vs. South Carolina Fight In SEC Championship Game

So, it’s not surprising that Shaq gave his new protégée a holler after her team scuffled with rival South Carolina in an SEC Tournament finals loss this past weekend, one that had social media buzzing and resulted in the arrest of LSU star Flau’Jae Johnson’s brother who jumped over the scorer’s table after his sister was shoved to the floor by Gamecocks 6-foot-7 center Kamilla Cardoso. 

O’Neal told Reese he was proud of how she handled the on-court fight between SEC rivals, as she avoided getting involved in the tussle. 

O’Neal, who provided support during Angel Reese’s multi-week absence from the team early in the season, when the media was heavily criticizing and scrutinizing her every move, described what he told her to Fox: 

Shaquille O’Neal called Angel Reese, who he signed to Reebok basketball in 2023, to tell her he was proud that she didn’t get involved in SEC Championship scuffle, but Reese implies that’s only because she had a bad ankle. (Instagram)

“I called her, and I said, ‘You did the right thing,'” O’Neal said. “‘Trust me, you did the right thing, because if you would have gone out there, they would have been looking for you. You and [Kamilla] Cardoso get into a shoving match. She’s already ejected. Can’t play in the next round. That would have happened to you. It would have been all your fault.’ So, she did the right thing. Kudos to her.”

Reese Suggests She Didn’t Fight Because Of Sore Ankle

Reese had already received an intentional foul in the first half for an incident with Cardoso.  

She didn’t have any margin for error, or she would have been ejected and LSU can’t afford that. Besides, Reese arrived at the game in a walking boot because of a sore left ankle and any further injury or discomfort would have been another blunder. 

Reese mentioned this in the postgame presser, delivered in typical fierce fashion, as some suggested on social media that she bailed on her squad when she refrained from engaging in the potential melee.

“As a person at my STATUS, sometimes you have to walk away from certain situations,” the 21-year-old wrote on social media hours after the game, in which she still managed a double-double (15 points, 13 rebounds).

“Mind you the play before that I had rolled my ankle AGAIN and was already walking to the bench. I ALWAYS ride for mine. I’m super proud of this team & super excited for March.”

Good thing she shows more reserve than her coach, Kim Mulkey, who said that she wished Reese had been the one that Cardoso pushed, insinuating that Reese wouldn’t have gotten thrown across the floor like the 5-foot-10, tough-talking Johnson. 

“It’s ugly, it’s not good, no one wants to be a part of that,” Mulkey said to reporters. “But I’ll tell you this, I wish [Cardoso] would’ve pushed Angel Reese. If you’re 6-8 [6-7], don’t push somebody that little. That was uncalled for in my opinion. Let those two girls who were jawing, let them go at it.”

Reese’s wise decision gives her a week to rest her ankle and prepare for what will be one of the most anticipated NCAA Women’s Basketball tournaments in recent history.

Shaq Is Helping Angel Reese Get The Bag

Shaq was never one to back down in an NBA game, but then again he was shrewd when it came to making “business decisions,” and with Reese’s actual WNBA draft status still unknown, it’s good that she didn’t do anything to jeopardize her March Madness appearance or the future bag and continued relationships she will gain in the WNBA and with various brand such as Reebok, whom she signed a two-year deal with in 2023. 

A week after Shaq was named president of Reebok basketball, he snagged Reese, which boosted her NIL valuation to close to $2 million. 

Reese has the option of entering the WNBA Draft, where she is almost guaranteed to be taken in the top 5 picks, or return to LSU to keep running it up and trying for one more title, if they can somehow find a way to beat Iowa and South Carolina this tournament. 

Will Angel Reese Enter 2024 WNBA Draft?

Reese already has an NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award under her belt. “Bayou Barbie” is averaging 19.1 points and almost 13 rebounds per game this season in her second season with the Tigers after transferring from Maryland. 

The fact that she can make more money with NIL deals than she would her WNBA salary might influence her decision. Rookies and players with two or less years of experience make a league minimum of $64,154, which is peanuts compared to what Reese would haul in next season if LSU advanced deep in the NCAA Tournament and provided fans with the current bravado that it currently displays. 

Then again, nothing is stopping her from continuing to get endorsement deals and branding collaborations, which would be unlimited and more prestigious because of her pro status. The WNBA needs Reese and Clark on a team ASAP, but maybe she decided to continue to build her social media following and milk the NIL mill for one more season. 

You know Shaq is probably advising her on all money moves, and however it shakes out, as long as Reese stays healthy and keeps her nose clean, she’s in line for more mean green. 

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