Angel Reese of the LSU Tigers celebrated her NCAA championship win unapologetically April 2. After leading the team to victory against Iowa State, the 20-year-old basketball star boasted about the win in the face of her opponent Caitlin Clark.
Reese waved her hand in front of her face, a gesture made popular by WWE pro-wrestler John Cena to mean “you can’t see me.”
Then, she pointed at her ring finger, celebrating the very spot where her precious NCAA championship ring would sit.
Critics said Reese showed no class following NCAA win
After the game, social media lit up with mixed reactions about Reese’s victory wave. Some people claimed that the competitive athlete displayed a poor example of sportsmanship.
Sports journalist Jose de Jesus Ortiz called the basketball champ “classless” while former ESPN host Keith Olbermann called her “a f*cking idiot.”
As backlash began to swirl across social media, Reese doubled down on her gesture during a post game interview with ESPN.
“I was waiting. Caitlin Clark is a hell of a player for sure. But I don’t take disrespect lightly,” the 6-foot-3 athlete said. “And she disrespected Alexis and my girls — South Carolina, they still my SEC girls, too. Y’all not gonna disrespect them either… I had a moment at the end of the game. I was in my bag. I was in the moment.”
Clark showed a poor example of sportsmanship when she threw up the John Cena wave at point guard Alexis Morris following Iowa’s victory against South Carolina on Friday, according to Yahoo Sports. That wasn’t the first time she had done it either.
In fact, during a recent game with Louisville, the 21-year-old threw up the same exact gesture after she hit her sixth 3-point throw of the game.
John Cena took to social media to congratulate Caitlin Clark shortly after the big win.
Angel Reese addressed the criticism
The topic of Reese’s wave came up again during a post game press conference. When asked why she made the gesture, the basketball pro defended her decision proudly.
“All year, I was critiqued about who I was. The narrative — I don’t fit the narrative,” Reese told reporters. “I don’t fit into the box that y’all want me to be in. ‘I’m too hood. I’m too ghetto.’ Y’all told me that all year,” she continued.
“But when other people do it, y’all don’t say nothing. So this is for the girls that look like me, that’s gonna speak on for what they believe in. It’s unapologetically you. And that’s what I did it for tonight.”
The sophomore added, “This was bigger than me tonight. Twitter is gonna go on a rage every time. And I’m happy. I feel like I’ve helped grow women’s basketball this year.”
On Sunday, LSU won their first ever women’s NCAA champion, beating Iowa State 102 – 85. Reese helped to push the team to victory delivering 15 points and 10 rebounds throughout the game.
Who is Angel Reese?
Angel Reese, a native of Maryland, is one of the most dynamic players in the country. After spending two seasons at the University of Maryland, the unbreakable athlete was rated the top player in the transfer portal in 2022, according to LSU’s website.
Before transferring to LSU, Reese led the Terrapins to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in 2022 with an astonishing 17.8 average and 10.6 rebounds. She became the first Maryland sophomore to average a double-double since 1975, adding 53 steals and 36 blocks during the season.
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