Angel Reese Gets to Taunt and Trash Talk Whoever She Wants and You Just Have to Deal With It
LSU beat Iowa in what will likely be one of the most watched women's college basketball games ever played. Fans who tuned in watched in horror as LSU star and first team All-American Angel Reese taunted Iowa's National Player of the Year, Caitlin Clark at the end of the game. It quickly became discourse with the word "class" being thrown around unironically as certain people desperately wanted to put Reese in her place. Reese knew it was coming and basked in it, which somehow made it more awesome.
Limited by foul trouble and the fact that her teammates put together one of the most impressive offensive performances you'll ever see in college basketball, Reese only had 15 points, 10 rebounds (6 offensive), 5 assists, 3 steals, and one blocked shot. Here she is letting Clark know about it by doing the You Can't See me celebration and pointing to her ring finger.
In full disclosure, my initial reaction was that was uneccessary. I'm not going to lie. I had gotten wrapped up in the (completely deserved) Clark hype. She's a great player and fun to watch. Plus, who honestly wants Kim Mulkey to be rewarded with success?
So I was rooting for Iowa. Luckily, taking half a step back to remember that I did not care about Iowa or FAU or Kansas State basketball as recently as mid-March, I was able to put some perspective on this incident and realize it's pretty damn funny. This is the kind of thing we see in the NBA all the time. Plus, this is what March is about. Rooting for teams you know nothing about and riding that wave until they're elminated and then just moving on with your life. So I moved on.
Caitlin Clark, after a lifetime of causing opposing players frustration and then letting them know about it, will probably be OK after Reese picked on her for a few seconds. This is exactly what made Clark so fun. She didn't just capture the nation's interest because of the way she could score, but because of the way she did it. With an attitude. She was celebrated for talking shit. She better be able to take it too.
Sports do funny things to people. Why else would anyone ever care about someone waving their hand in front of their face? It's not an obscene gesture. It's a reference to professional wrestling. Why would this possibly upset a regular human?
Of course, regular humans do get annoyed. I feel like the only time it's really understandable to be bothered by someone talking trash is when they're doing it to the team you're rooting for. There's something very human nature about that. Nobody wants to see their friends getting picked on. Even if they're just friends on the television. Which is why this is so damn silly.
With that in mind, Reese taunting Clark was great. They'll both be back next year. Can you imagine how heated a rematch would be? Who wouldn't want to see that? Rivalries are good for sports and this moment made for great theater and will hopefully set up an even better sequel.
That's why everyone was so damn excited about it in Reese's postgame interview on ESPN.
Visiting Elle Duncan, Monica McNutt, and Carolyn Peck on the ESPN desk she said Clark is a hell of a player, but does not take disrespect lightly and she felt Clark had disrespected Alexis (Morris) and the SEC. Who doesn't love someone defending the honor of their conference?
In her postgame press conference, while Twitter was aruging about how classy Reese had been, she called people out before she even saw what was taking place.
"When other people do it, ya'll don't say nothin'. So this is for the girls that look like me, bag on us, trying to speak up for what we believe in. It's unapologetically you and that's what I did it for tonight. This was for - It was bigger than 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."
Between this and the fact that she can block a shot while holding her own shoe, what's not to love? Some of the coolest moments in basketball involve taunting. If you have a problem with all trash talk in general, you're no fun. If you have a problem with Angel Reese trash talking, well, you're something else.