Angel Reese’s basketball superstardom earned her a lot of attention during her four-game absence from No. 7 LSU’s lineup. 

Her celebrity has also secured her a multi-year NIL deal with Reebok. Shaquille O’Neal is the new president of basketball for the brand, as well as a mentor of Reese’s, and he’s been helping Reese throughout her absence.

“I talked to Shaq every day. We FaceTimed, he called, he checked on me every single day to make sure I was good,” Reese said. “He told me every day, ‘This too shall pass.’ He’s been here before and he knows what it takes.”

Reese made a triumphant return to the court for the Tigers in Thursday’s 82-64 win against Virginia Tech. After the game, she did not go into any detail about the nature of her absence, continuing the precedent she and Tigers head coach Kim Mulkey set while she was gone. But some of the comments Reese made about speaking with Shaq may shed some light on the situation.

“Being able to have somebody like that was something that was really good for me. He told me when I was right, when I was wrong and told me what I needed to do to get back. And I know he’s probably going to call me after this game,” Reese said. 

Reese recorded 19 points and 9 rebounds against the Hokies. After the game, she shouted out her support system — likely including Shaq — for getting her through the intense scrutiny she endured during her time away from the team. Before Thursday, she had last played on Nov. 14.

“I want people to realize that I’m not just an athlete, I’m a human. I go through things, we all go through things. Being able to have so many people that are super supportive to me over this past week-and-a-half really showed me a lot and who really cares for me,” Reese said.

“When you’re up, everybody loves you. And when you’re down is when you see who really loves you. Being able to have such supportive people for me here through a tough time for me was really important.”