If you’ve been reading along with the ShaqFu Radio blog – and we know you are! – then you know our man Shaq is back in the sports-apparel business. He recently signed on with Reebok to handle basketball operations.
One of his first big-name announcements was to bring on LSU basketball star Angel Reese in a big NIL (name, image, likeness) deal. As a former LSU superstar himself, he’s got good connections to the university and current players.
If you follow ladies hoops, you also know that LSU star Angel Reese has been away from the team for a while. Reasons have been a bit unclear, with some talk of “locker room issues,” and other mentions of her own general state of mental health.
No matter the reason, she’s been away from the game for a time, and that had people wondering what was going on. Apparently O’Neal was one of those people curious about what was going on. In Shaq’s case, he was able to do something about it.
In an online story this week (just hours before this post, in fact), Reese said that Shaq had checked in on her every day during her absence from the Tigers team. Reese did return to the team and played in the game against Virginia Tech.
Reese told reporters about her conversations with O’Neal, and said she very much appreciated the talks. “He told me every day, like, ‘This, too, shall pass.’ Just being able to have somebody like that was something that was really good for me. He told me when I was right. He told me when I was wrong. He told me what I needed to do to get back to where I am.”
Reese added: “’I want people to realize that I’m not just an athlete, I’m a human. go through things. We all go through things.” Reese said she was happy to be back with the team, and said she didn’t want her absence – or the reasons for her being away – to be an issue for the team.
Whatever the exact reasons, Reese talked about wanting to be sure her absence or behaviors would not become a “cancer in the locker room.” She said that while being away for two weeks was a long time, it was also important for her to “reset and refocus” on herself and her game.
As for playing time itself, things went really well for the LSU star. Before her first game back, she was presented with a commemorative basketball during a pregame ceremony recognizing her 1,000th career rebound earlier this season.
In the game against Tech, Reese has dropped 19 points and scooped nine rebounds. The game marked Tigers coach Kim Mulkey’s 700th victory. The two were spotted sharing a long hug after Thursday night’s game.