Angel Reese Says She Doesn’t Play Pro-Basketball For The Money

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 06: Angel Reese departs The Mark Hotel for 2024 Met Gala on May 06, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for The Mark Hotel)

Angel Reese has addressed the hoopla surrounding her shocking WNBA rookie salary. While recently sitting with ESPN, the newly drafted Chicago Sky player explained that she plays basketball professionally for the “genuine love” she has for the sport, rather than the monetary compensation. Reese’s starting salary is reported to be a total of $343,000 over four years with the Sky, on top of endorsements that she has.

Playing for the Love of the Game

“I mean, obviously, people thought me leaving college — I would take a huge pay gap and pay drop,” she started. “I wasn’t getting paid in college, so that check that I do get here is a bonus. Being able to play for what, four to five months, and get $75,000 on top of the other endorsements that I’m doing, I think it’s a plus for me. I play the game I love — not for the money — I play because I genuinely love basketball.”

Reese, a former LSU Tigers forward, was picked seventh overall during the WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky in April. Her rookie pay is capped at $75,000, a fact she acknowledged a year prior when speaking with Sports Illustrated. “Everybody knows the WNBA doesn’t make that much money, so I just want to be able to grow my brand as much as I can in college before I go to the WNBA,” she told the publication.

Angel Reese Building a Lasting Brand

During her collegiate career, she benefited from the NCAA’s approval of NIL deals, allowing student-athletes to profit from their likeness and deals. She reportedly netted a seven-figure income thanks to 17 endorsement deals. Reese says her profile continues to grow, with endorsements from Raising Canes, Beats by Dre, Reebok, PlayStation, McDonald’s, Coach, Wingstop, Outback Steakhouse, Amazon, ZOA Energy, Starry, Mielle Organics, and JanSport.

“Now that I’m a pro and being able to continue to work with these brands long-term, I think that’s something people don’t really realize,” she added. “I love that the brands want to work with us and continue to want to work with us. I want people to know the deals don’t stop in college. When you go to the pros, they continue, and I feel like they’ve even grown even more.”

Reese signed a multi-year deal with Reebok in 2023, has shot a campaign for Beats by Dre, and recently became a co-owner of the Washington-based soccer team, the DC Power Football Club. “I’ve always wanted to impact sports, not just women’s basketball,” said the 22-year-old when her boss move was announced earlier this month.

Since the WNBA season began, Reese has contributed to the Chicago Sky gaining two wins against the New York Liberty and Dallas Wings, respectively.