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Angel Reese says WNBA popularity is about more than just Caitlin Clark: 'It's because of me too'

Reese's comments came just days after she and Clark faced off for the first time with their new WNBA clubs in a match that — like ones of the past — didn't come without some drama.
Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark
Posted at 12:52 PM, Jun 04, 2024

In an apparent dig at Indiana Fever star Caitlin Clark, the Chicago Sky's Angel Reese claimed that the growing popularity surrounding the WNBA can be attributed to more than just one player and that she deserves some credit.

"I'll look back in 20 years and be like, 'Yeah, the reason we're watching women's basketball is not just because of one person,'" she told reporters Monday night. "It's because of me too, and I want you all to realize that."

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese

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Reese added that the recent hype around the WNBA actually stems from a so-called rivalry that began in college when Reese and the LSU Tigers defeated Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes in the NCAA championship game two years ago. It's then that Reese said she was OK with being labeled the "bad guy" in the rivalry if that means the popularity of women's basketball continues to grow.

"It all started from the national championship game, and I've been dealing with this for two years now," Reese said. "And understanding like, yeah negative things have probably been said about me but honestly I'll take that. Because look where women's basketball is. People are talking about women's basketball that you never would think would be talking about women's basketball."

LSU's Angel Reese reacts in front of Iowa's Caitlin Clark.
LSU's Angel Reese reacts in front of Iowa's Caitlin Clark during the second half of the NCAA Women's Final Four championship basketball game.

Reese's comments came just days after she and Clark faced off for the first time in the WNBA. But that too was a match that didn't end without some drama.

During the Fever's 71-70 win over Chicago, Clark received a blindside shoulder shot from Reese's teammate Chennedy Carter that sent her stumbling to the hardwood. After the game, both Reese and Carter refused to answer questions about the foul, with Reese being fined $1,000 by the league for not even showing up to address the media.

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) reacts after being called for a foul

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ESPN host Pat McAfee also found himself entwined in the controversy for comments he made about the feud, referring to Clark as a "White b****" who is the "cash cow" behind the growing WNBA fandom. Within hours of the rant, McAfee took to social media to apologize.

"My intentions when saying it were complimentary just like the entire segment, but a lot of folks are saying that it certainly wasn’t at all," he said. "That’s 100% on me and for that I apologize."