As ‘Bad Girl’ Angel Reese Ends Iowa Rivalry, Shaquille O’Neal Reminds 32,100,000 Fans of Her Ultimate Dream

Published 10/08/2023, 12:56 AM EDT

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Even though the WNBA continues to grow into an exciting platform, it is still a ways away from true stardom. However, women’s basketball as a whole has shown that it can thrive when given the proper stage. It was no surprise that the women’s NCAA tournament was all anyone could talk about this past year. Due to the incredible play of Caitlin Clark, and her budding rivalry with Angel Reese, the focus of the basketball world was on the young ladies. However, their rivalry seems to have given way to mutual respect. Even Shaquille O’Neal had to acknowledge that level of respect.

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While their battles might have finally put women’s basketball to the forefront, there isn’t much animosity between Clark and Reese. Instead, mutual respect has led to an appreciation for what each of them has done for the sport.

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Speaking about her battles with Caitlin, Angel couldn’t help but remember their times together. “I love Caitlin. We’ve been competing since we were in AAU…It was always fun and always competitive.” Then, the LSU star had the rumor mills turning. “One day, hopefully, me and her can be teammates. She is a great player and a great shooter and a great person and a great teammate.” 

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Further, the reigning NCAA Champion did her part in removing the ‘bad girl’ image she has. “They always put a good girl and a bad girl and just understanding that that’s just what it is…I’ll take that I’m gonna be the bad guy but I know I’ve grown women’s basketball…Me and Caitlin, we’ve been cool…Just knowing that I’ve grown women’s basketball and she has too…It’s all that matters.” 

 

Their shared respect and potential team-up got the attention of Shaq as well. Posting the clip on his IG story, O’Neal made sure that the developing story got major coverage with his 32 million strong fanbase.

Watch This Story: Joining Shaquille O’Neal’s Alma Mater, How Is Angel Reese’s 18-Year-Old Teammate Already A Millionaire?

Perhaps, that connection could also serve as a bridge to alter the perception around the LSU star.

Is Angel Reese really the ‘bad guy’?

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During the NCAA tournament, the focus of the entire sports world was on the women’s side rather than their male counterparts. This was primarily due to the fantastic basketball on display, along with the ascension of superstar talents like Angel and Caitlin.

However, as Reese alluded to, the coverage took a ‘good vs. bad’ turn. Even though Clark was using the “You can’t see me” gesture throughout the tournament, a rebuttal from Reese immediately gave her the antagonist’s role.

Even then, the 7-footer was firmly in Reese’s corner. With a potential team-up on the horizon, the hottest topic in women’s college basketball could bring the same attention to the WNBA.

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What do you think of a potential Reese-Clark duo? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Priyanshu

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Priyanshu is an NBA Writer at Essentially Sports. Basketball has been his favorite sport for over a decade, and he has written close to 300 articles. If asked what he loves about the sport, Priyanshu would cite the technique, the breakdown, the ebb and flow and the theatrics that have endeared him since 2009.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth

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