Angel Reese Says Shaq Is A ‘Father Figure’ To Her

angel reese parents
Angel Reese's Parents: Michael & Angel Webb ReeseCarly Mackler - Getty Images

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Louisiana State University basketball player Angel Reese’s star power is only growing. While the Tigers were knocked out during the Elite Eight of March Madness, Angel still had an amazing season, including becoming 2024's SEC Player of the Year. And now, she’s ready to go pro.

Last week, Angel shared in Vogue that she's declaring for the WNBA draft, where she’s expected to be snapped up quickly. The draft airs on Monday, and ESPN predicts she'll go eighth, to the Chicago Sky.

If you've been following the LSU forward ever since her beginnings in Randallstown, Maryland, you might have noticed that one of those women in her cheering section is another Angel Reese. And yes, they're related.

Curious about the family members who inspired her journey? Here's what you need to know about Angel’s parents, plus how they played a role in her basketball career.

Her mom is also named Angel.

Yes, this mother-daughter duo share the same name, and Angel's mom also goes by Angel Reese. Angel’s mom hilariously shared a message on X (formerly Twitter) in 2023 that young men were sliding into her DMs, thinking she was her daughter. “I am getting some crazy dating requests from men my kid’s age who clearly by the content of msg think they’re sending it to lil A,” she wrote.

To keep the two separate, the basketball star’s mom goes by the nickname "Big Angel," according to the University of Maryland.

Both of her parents played professional basketball.

Angel has basketball woven into her DNA. Both of her parents spent time on the court during their youth.

Angel Webb Reese played college and professional-level basketball. She was on the team at University of Maryland at Baltimore County and later joined a pro team in Luxembourg.

Angel's mom was a standout player at Maryland Baltimore County, with The Baltimore Sun reporting in 1991 that “Angel Webb can do just about anything for the women's basketball team at UMBC.” The paper also said that she was “heavenly" for playing on the team.

Angel's father, Michael Reese, played basketball at Boston College and Loyola University. He was a star player at Loyola, and The Baltimore Sun notes that he would get pretty heated on the court. Michael later played professional basketball overseas, ESPN says.

Her mom was a single parent.

Angel’s mom raised the basketball star and her younger brother, Julian "Juju" Reese, as a single mom. And she certainly passed on her love of basketball to both of her children, because they both went on to play at their high school, St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, and college. Julian is currently a power forward for the University of Maryland's men's team, where the younger Angel also played for two seasons.

“My mom worked hard [when I was] growing up, raising us by herself,” Angel tells Women's Health in her March/April cover story interview. When it came time for college, and Angel got a full ride scholarship, Angel says “that was my payback to her.”

Clearly, Angel is very close with her mom, and she loves being able to give back to the woman who raised her. "My mom is going to the Usher concert when we go to Vegas. She's going to have a ball, she's going to have a good time there," Angel tells WH.

Angel has shared that her mom inspired her to work hard to achieve her dreams. “She never backed down to anything," she told ESPN's First Take. "She always stood her ground for everything. She worked super hard for me and my brother to get in this position. Being able to just look at her and say, 'Mom, you showed me. You paved the way for me.'"

Her mom taught her to play basketball.

Angel's mom had some serious skills, which she passed along to her children.

"She taught me how to play," Angel told the University of Maryland. "Most of my family plays basketball, so I kind of had to play. I tried ballet, gymnastics, and things like that, but nothing worked except for basketball."

In fact, Angel originally started playing basketball because she wanted to be better than her brother, she told WH.

Angel would attend her mom’s games growing up.

Angel told Just Women’s Sports that her mom played in a rec league when she was growing up. “I used to go to my mom’s games when I was younger,” she said. “She used to play in a little league, and I used to always go watch her games on Sundays. That was something that was always inspiring to me.”

Her mom would also take her to professional basketball games, which Angel loved. The games also inspired her on her sports journey. "We used to go to [Washington] Mystics games all the time. She had a friend that she used to play with overseas [who was] on the Minnesota Lynx, so whenever the Lynx played the Mystics, I would always, always go to the games," Angel tells Women's Health. Just look at this adorable photo of young Angel with Lynx legend (and LSU alum) Seimone Augustus and try not to say, "Awww":

Angel wears the No. 10 in honor of her mom.

Angel’s jersey number at LSU, 10, was originally her mom’s number, according to Just Women Sports. It’s also the number Angel’s brother Julian wears at Maryland.

“Number 10 is just our number, really,” Julian told the outlet. “Like, when you see No. 10, you see the Reese family."

Shaquille O’Neal is a “father figure” to her.

Angel's mom isn't her only support. In fact, the legend himself Shaq is a "father figure" to her, she told USA Today.

The two first met in February 2023, when Angel hosted Shaq’s daughter Me’Arah during an official visit to LSU. Shaq challenged Angel to score 20 pounds and get 20 rebounds during a game against Mississippi State—and she got even more than he bargained for, nabbing 23 points and 26 rebounds, the outlet says.

The relationship has continued with Angel asking Shaq, a LSU alum himself, to escort her on Senior Day (an honor that’s usually reserved for family members), which he did. Angel walked onto the court arm-in-arm with her mom and Shaq, who was wearing a t-shirt with three miniature Angels on it.

"He’s super inspiring to me," she told USA Today. "He’s so genuine, he’s been there for me through tough times. He just gets it, and there’s not a more perfect person for me to be tight with. We have fun, and if I need anything, he would help me…and he would do that even if I never played basketball again. He doesn’t care about me as a player, he cares about me as a person."

Her mom is her biggest fan.

Angel Webb Reese worked hard to instill confidence in her daughter from a young age. "My mom always told me to be who you are," the younger Angel says. "You don't see a lot of confident women, especially confident Black women, because people overshadow us a lot."

These days, you can often see Angel’s mom courtside cheering on her daughter. In March, Angel shared a tweet about how her mom traveled between her game and her brother’s game within 24 hours, adding, “i love my SUPERMOM!”

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