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Angel Reese aims to carry her lucrative NIL deals to WNBA

Angel Reese waves before throwing out the first pitch at the Baltimore Orioles game on July 18, 2023. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Angel Reese became a household name this year when she led LSU to the national championship, and she has capitalized on that fame with partnerships with Amazon and Merecedes Benz, among others.

Reese has a name, image and likeness (NIL) valuation of $1.6 million, according to On3, the sixth-highest among all amateur athletes and second to just LSU gymnast Livvy Dunne ($3.2 million) among women.

The rising senior at LSU plans to bring those deals with her when she eventually joins the WNBA.

“WNBA players don’t make as much money as they should,” she said in an interview with Teen Vogue. “Being able to grow this now, while I’m in college, and doing this now can help me when I get to the WNBA.”

The maximum annual salary for a WNBA player is $234,936. Arike Ogunbowale, Diana Taurasi and Jewell Lloyd are all earning that much in base salary this season. Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, meanwhile, is set to make a base salary of $51.9 million for the 2023-24 season.

Professional women’s basketball players have long played overseas during WNBA offseasons to supplement their earnings. The New York Times reported in 2015 that Taurasi was earning about $1.5 million per season for Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg.

Reese has 5.1 million followers across her social platforms, but she is deliberate about the companies she works with because she says she believes in the power of authenticity.

“Everything I post on my Instagram or TikTok is stuff that I actually like or stuff I like to eat or stuff I like to do or wear,” she said. “All money isn’t good money. I had to realize that early on.”