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  • Writer's pictureArchuleta A. Chisolm

Here's Why Angel Reese Deserves WNBA Rookie of the Year

Sports Illustrated

Ticket sales for the Chicago Sky have skyrocketed. Celebrities are wearing Indiana Fever jerseys. Google searches for the WNBA league are higher than ever. Everyone has been excited about the WNBA and it's about time these ladies get the hype they deserve.


Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark, and other top college players are enjoying a surge of popularity — rightfully so - even stealing the shine from the NBA. The WNBA season has almost come to an end, believe it or not. Now the talk about the prestigious title of WNBA Rookie of the Year is heating up, and it's clear why so many voices are championing for Angel Reese to clinch the coveted award.


At LSU, Angel won a national championship, Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, and she's been an All-American. And as a pro with the Chicago Sky, she has been the best rookie in the WNBA up to this point this season. The 6'3 forward has been a dominant rebounder with her historic 13th-straight double-double, and manages to score plenty of points. That's not just a rookie record but a record for the whole history of the WNBA.


Angel has successfully maintained her position amidst significant public scrutiny of her words and actions. Her influence on her team's results is undeniable. Her talent for generating points, controlling rebounds, and executing critical moves has played a crucial role in determining the results of important games. It's not only her statistics that are significant; it's the leadership and perseverance she brings to the game.


Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark, who may have been rivals in college, are actually not as professionals. Their respective teams are not known for any rivalries, so it's really the media that has planted on this narrative and continue to spiral it.


Interest in the WNBA has been at its strongest since the league's inception in 1996, which many have attributed to the emergence of Caitlin, who was picked number one in the recent draft. Although the WNBA has been around for nearly 30 years, there was renewed interest right after Clark and Reese entered the league.


Caitlin was definitely surging in popularity before she and Angel ever crossed paths. But the moment Angel, who is Black, gave Caitlin, who is white, a dose of her own medicine with the 'you can’t see me gesture', this rivalry and the narrative around them both went to a whole other level. Angel was subjected to such intense on-line violence that you would have thought she pimp slapped Caitlin on the court.


Media personality Keith Olbermann called Reese “a f*cking idiot.” Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, described Reese as “a classless piece of sh*t”—which is even more disturbing considering that Portnoy has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, once made a rape joke on his website, and referred to ESPN television host Samantha Ponder as a “f*cking slut.”


So, what are we really talking about? This is a tale as old as time: When white athletes are demonstrative, they’re playing with passion and showing their love of the game. When Black athletes reveal their feelings, they’re disgraceful and “classless.”


When evaluating the candidates for WNBA Rookie of the Year, Angel Reese undeniably stands out as a frontrunner. Her impact on the league, her team's performance, and her growing influence off the court all contribute to why she is deserving of this esteemed accolade. And it's not diminishing what Rickea Jackson, guard for the L.A. Sparks and Kamilla Cardoso, center for the Chicago Sky have brought to the table. But Angel and Caitlin seem to have everyone else on mute at this point.


As the WNBA season continues to unfold, all eyes are on Angel Reese as she cements her place among the league's top talents. Her journey from promising rookie to undeniable star is a testament to her talent, and unwavering commitment to the game she loves.


One thing remains clear: Angel is a force to be reckoned with and her impact on the WNBA is just beginning. She deserves Rookie of the Year. Period.


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