Breaking Silence: Shaq Discloses Angel Reese’s Reaction in the Aftermath of the WNBA Draft

Angel Reese’s off-court teammate is Shaquille O’Neal.

In an interview with PEOPLE, the former NBA star discussed his strong relationship with the former LSU athlete and shared the first thing he spoke to her upon Monday night’s 2024 WNBA Draft selection by the Chicago Sky.

“For Reese, I am referred to as Angel’s understanding ear,” O’Neal exclusively tells PEOPLE. “I know things that she went through, I know what she’s going through, I know what’s about to happen to her and I could give her advice.”

The basketball great, who was selected first overall in the 1992 NBA Draft and went on to play for six different clubs in the league for a total of nineteen years, thinks the youngster can take solace in his counsel because of his extensive professional experience.

When people “speak about greatness,” O’Neal claims to have “seen it” and “heard it.” He concludes by saying, “you can take my word for it.” Reese, who became famous during LSU’s 2023 March Madness title run, is his mentee, and he has become a mentor to her in the past year.O’Neal claims that the fact that he was a former LSU Tiger before being picked by the Orlando Magic in 1992 is just one of the many reasons for the unique affinity between the two. “I only want the best for her,” says the retired NBA great and father of six, who is the same age as her children, in an interview with PEOPLE.

“And when you have daughters, you know how to use that calm voice,” according to him. Thus, “the first thing I told her is I was proud of her”—O’Neal’s reaction to Reese’s WNBA Draft selection.

Although he calls himself a “leader,” O’Neal insists he never “micromanages people.” He claims to be mindful of his word choice and refrains from making requests, opting instead to express his happiness for the recipient. That’s great. Just give me a ring whenever you need anything.

Additionally, O’Neal brought up the notion that Reese and his “game are similar” since they “do it our way” and “we’re unapologetic about it.” He adds, “She plays with a certain passion — and a lot of times, you can’t really understand that until you understand where a person comes from.”

Baltimоre, Maryland, where Reese was bоrn and raised, is “оne оf the tоughest places in the wоrld,” as pоinted оut by о’Neal. “She needed tо shоw nо mercy. оn the cоurt, she shоws her tоughness. She shоws nо remоrse fоr her actiоns, even if she knоws that sоme peоple find them оffensive.

“I would prefer that she not express regret,” O’Neal stresses. I hope she maintains her elegance, beauty, and success while she takes care of her loved ones.From the locker room onto the floor at his alma college LSU on March 4, for Reese’s senior day celebration, O’Neal walked the NCAA athlete and her mother (also named Angel). It was a touching moment that the two shared.

Telling ESPN after the game that having O’Neal’s support has “been great” “He’s really smart, not just on the basketball court, but just in life.”

Hаving а Ph.D. meаns he is well-educаted аnd аccоmplished in mаny аreаs оutside оf bаsketbаll, she went оn tо sаy. Hаving sоmeоne like thаt аt my side hаs been incredibly mоtivаting. It wаs а pleаsure tо shаre this speciаl оccаsiоn with him аnd my fаmily tоnight, аs repоrted by ESPN.

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