Louisiana State University basketball star Angel Reese has come a long way since the controversy following the 2023 NCAA championship game — from the first lady implying she want to also invite the losing team, the Iowa Hawkeyes, despite the LSU Tigers being the winning team to Reese being called out for her on-court taunting of her team rivals.
Since the tremendous exposure after LSU’s win, Reese has become part of national conversation and was even parodied on “Saturday Night Live.” In other words, her popularity and name recognition have now gone through the roof.
The player, who has gained 2 million followers on social media since the April 2 championship win, has seen her NIL value skyrocket. Her name, image, and likeness are now valued at about $1.3 million.
“I can see the positive,” the LSU sophomore said during an appearance on the “I Am Athlete” podcast. “All the attention that the women’s basketball is getting because this whole year I’ve gotten nothing but a lot of support and so many people saying ‘I turned the basketball game on because I wanted to see your team. You guys have brought me to watch women’s basketball.’”
College athletes are allowed to receive financial compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness for marketing and promotional endeavors.
NILs were approved on June 30, 2021, by the Division 1 Board of Directors; it allows all NCAA D1, D2 and D3 student-athletes to be compensated for their NIL as of July 1, 2021, regardless of whether their state has a NIL law in place or not.
NIL Money Rolling In
Reese, who will be eligible for WNBA draft next year, says she’s in no hurry to turn pro.
“I’m in no rush to go to the league,” Reese, 20, told “I Am Athlete.” “The money I’m making is more than some of the people that are in the league that might be top players.”
Reese, the self-dubbed “Bayou Barbie,” has landed 17 NIL sponsorship deals with brands like Amazon and Coach, according to a March Sponsor United report. According to the report, that’s more than any other college basketball player.
Her NIL deals will net her an estimated $1.3 million annually, according to sports media platform On3, although this has yet to be confirmed. Reese knows exactly what she wants to spend her newly gained fortune on, too: a Mercedes-Benz, she said on the podcast.
The average WNBA players salary last year was $102,751.
“My first year [in college], I was just taking money,” Reese said. “I was doing anything. Now, I have to say no to certain things that I don’t like, or don’t want to put on my Instagram. … All money’s not good money.”