LeBron James defends Angel Reese amid backlash against LSU star


LeBron James appeared to defend LSU women’s basketball star Angel Reese following a social media uproar over an alleged lack of sportsmanship toward the end of the Tigers’ national title win.

Reese gave Iowa’s Caitlin Clark a taste of her own medicine when she pointed to her ring finger to signify LSU’s championship run and hit the John Cena “you can’t see me taunt” after Clark had done it after scoring a basket earlier in the tournament. Clark earned praise from Cena for it.

As Reese received a tremendous amount of blowback, James was among those who came to her defense. He retweeted sports media figures David Aldridge, Ryan Clark and Emmanuel Acho, who defended Reese. He also quote-tweeted a reaction to Reese’s performance.

Reese, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, explained herself to reporters and to ESPN after the game was over. Reese pointed out the media was quick to criticize her because she didn’t “fit the narrative.” She said she didn’t hear any criticism about others doing the same celebrations.

“I’m happy. All year, I was critiqued about who I was. The narrative – I don’t fit the narrative. I don’t fit the box you all want me to be in. I’m too ‘hood. I’m too ghetto. You told me that all year,” Reese said.


Iowa Hawkeyes guard Molly Davis drives to the basket against LSU Lady Tigers forward Angel Reese in the final round of the Women's Final Four NCAA tournament at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on April 2, 2023.
LSU Lady Tigers forward Angel Reese celebrates after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes in the final round of the NCAA tournament at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on April 2, 2023.

“But when other people do it – you all don’t say nothing. So, this is for the girls that look like me. That’s going to speak up for what they believe in. It’s unapologetically you and that’s what I did it for tonight. It was bigger than me tonight. It was bigger than me. Twitter is going to go in a rage every time. And, I mean, I’m happy. I feel like I helped grow women’s basketball this year. I’m super happy and excited. I’m looking forward to celebrating and then next season.”

Before hitting the podium, Reese told ESPN what she was thinking in the moment and gave props to Clark as a player. She pointed to how Clark waved off a South Carolina player in the national semifinal on Friday night, which even prompted a reaction from LSU guard Alexis Morris before the game.

“Caitlin Clark is a hell of a player for sure, but I don’t take disrespect lightly,” Reese said. “And she disrespected Alexis and South Carolina, they’re still my SEC girls, too. You all are not going to disrespect them either.”

Angel Reese of the LSU Lady Tigers reacts toward Caitlin Clark of the Iowa Hawkeyes during the championship game on April 2, 2023, in Dallas, Texas.

“I wanted to pick her pocket. I had a moment at the end of the game, and I was just in my bag.”

LSU won the game, 102-85, for the program’s first national championship.

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