‘Attacked, death threats, sexualized’: Angel Reese speaks out on pressure of fame

Angel Reese has opened up about the pressures of fame after winning a national championship with LSU in 2023.

The 21-year-old became a household name in the US after leading her team to the NCAA Tournament title last year. The team made headlines on and off the field under the brash leadership of their coach, Kim Mulkey. Reese was often the target of criticism, some of which he did sexist and racist undertones.

“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 stayed strong every time,” Reese said after her team’s loss. to Iowa in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament on Monday night. “I just try to stand strong for my teammates because I don’t want them to put me down and not be there for them. This has all happened since I won the national championship. It sucks, but I still wouldn’t change.

“The little girls that look up to me, hopefully I give them some kind of inspiration – keep waking up every day, stay motivated, stay who you are, stand on 10 toes, don’t back down and just be confident.”

“I’m just trying to stay strong… I’ve been attacked so many times. Death threats, I’ve been sexualized, I’ve been threatened… I’m still human. This has all happened since I won the election.” national championship and I haven’t been happy since.”

– Angel Reesepic.twitter.com/fIvQWtefnx

— Link Points (@Link Points) April 2, 2024

Reese played through a sprained ankle on Monday night, but still finished the game with 17 points, 20 rebounds and four assists. She said she wouldn’t use the injury as an excuse for the team’s loss to Caitlin Clark-inspired Iowa.

“I’m tough, so of course I tried to play through it, and this is something that’s been going on for a while,” Reese said. “But I finished it and I’m not going to use that excuse for the rest of my game.”

The Reese-Clark rivalry is one of the talking points of college basketball. The two spoke briefly on the track after the match on Monday.

“She just told me I’m still going to be a great player,” Reese said. “And I also told her that she would continue to be a great player. And keep taking the game to the next level. And go win.”

Reese is eligible for this year’s WNBA draft, but said she has not yet made a decision on her future and could still return to LSU next season. Meanwhile, her teammates defended Reese’s leadership.

“I’ve never seen people wish as much bad things on someone as she does, and it doesn’t affect her,” Hailey Van Lith said. “She comes to practice every day. She lives her life every day. She lives the way she wants to live, and no one will let that change. That is the key to life there.”

Mulkey came under scrutiny during the tournament, attacking a Washington Post journalist for what turned out to be a balanced profile of her, which she described as a “hit piece” before it was published. But she also received praise for it defend its players about a separate column that many considered sexist. Mulkey said that despite Monday’s loss, her team had helped change women’s basketball for the better.

“We have changed, people, we have changed. And we have changed in so many good ways,” she said. “These young people will remember being part of something that was so great tonight, many of them being part of winning a championship last year. I can’t describe to you how good women’s basketball is right now. That’s why I wish this game could have been in the Final Four. Wow. That was definitely good for an Elite Eight game.”