Angel Reese Is Declaring for the WNBA draft

Ally Green

Earlier this March, a week before the start of the NCAA tournament, Reese shared her plans to enter the WNBA draft with Vogue. Instead of opting to release her statement to sports outlets like ESPN or announce her intentions at an NCAA post-game press conference, she reached out to Vogue directly, because “I didn’t want anything to be basic,” she said, from her home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She says she was inspired by Serena Williams’ move to break her retirement news in the September issue of Vogue in 2022.

“I’ve done everything I wanted to in college,” Reese told Vogue. “I’ve won a national championship, I’ve gotten [Southeastern Conference] Player of the Year, I’ve been an All-American. My ultimate goal is to be a pro—and to be one of the greatest basketball players to play, ever. I feel like I'm ready.”

The news follows Reese’s final game as a LSU tiger, having suffered a loss (94-87) in the Elite Eight against Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes, a tearful Reese reflected back during the post-game press conference on the rocky year she and her team experienced on the road to the NCAA finals this year.

Sharing details about what she has had to endure since taking the 2023 NCAA title, the first in the school’s history, she said, “I’ve been through so much. I’ve seen so much. 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 stood strong every single time. I just try to stand strong for my teammates because I don’t want them to see me down and not be there for them … I’m still a human.”

Reese says her decision to go pro as opposed to continue another year of college eligibility was not made lightly. She may never experience a fan base like the one she has in Baton Rouge, she told Vogue. She will also experience a downgrade in resources, as in most WNBA organizations, from the staff down to the locker room facilities, pale in comparison to those at LSU. Flying private, will be far from the norm.

“I want to start at the bottom again,” she says. “I want to be a rookie again and build myself back up; I want to be knocked down and learn and grow at the next level.”

Reese told Vogue she is also very cognizant of the competition that awaits her at the professional level. Only 36 new athletes are drafted into the league each season. If Reese is among those picks during the draft on April 15, (she’s expected to be a first draft pick), she says she’ll join the ranks of “grown women.”

“I’ll be working with women that have kids, women that have a family to feed. I’m going to have to work my butt off every single day and grind. And who wouldn’t want that? I don’t want anything in my life to be easy.”

Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue