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“It’s a Bonus”: Angel Reese Explains ‘Paycut’ Misconception Behind NCAA Players Joining the WNBA

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

“It’s a Bonus”: Angel Reese Explains ‘Paycut’ Misconception Behind NCAA Players Joining the WNBA

The women’s basketball boom that reached its climax after last year’s NCAA Tournament Final between the LSU Tigers and the Iowa Hawkeyes, ushered in an era where female college superstars began earning millions of dollars from their NIL deals. Angel Reese, one of the faces of the revolution, shot up the rankings of the highest-paid college athletes in the country. But many expected her earnings to dwindle once she left LSU to play in the WNBA. However, Reese recently clarified that that isn’t the case.

In an interview with ESPN, the Chicago Sky star explained that leaving the college basketball stage hasn’t affected her NIL deals. And she’s also not bothered by the $75k annual salary that the WNBA is paying her.

Reese told the interviewer that her earnings have actually increased since she entered the league. She said,

“People thought me leaving college [would lead to me] taking a huge pay drop. [But] I wasn’t getting paid in college [to play for LSU]. So, the cheque that I do get here [as a Chicago Sky player] is a bonus. I mean, being able to play for four to five months and get $75,000 on top of other endorsements that I’m doing is a plus for me.”

Reese added that brands haven’t stopped approaching or working with her since she left LSU. On the contrary, she claims her portfolio has grown since turning pro and she’s no longer bound to certain restrictions that come with being a student-athlete. The misconception about her NIL deals drying up after turning pro stemmed from the lack of attention that the WNBA gets.

While college basketball has grown by leaps and bounds, the league still struggles for lack of notoriety. However, young stars like Reese, Caitlin Clark, and Cameron Brink are bringing unprecedented attention to the WNBA and they could change its fortunes for the future generation of female basketball players.

However, WNBA salaries are still pretty low, which is now getting extra attention because of players like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese’s annual salaries.

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese’s salaries shed light on the lack of revenue in women’s basketball

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese declaring for the 2024 WNBA draft brought unparalleled attention to the event. But unsuspectingly, it also exposed the league’s shocking revenue problem. After the Indiana Fever drafted Clark with the first overall pick, details about her rookie deal emerged on social media, leaving fans aghast.

Clark will earn only $388,000 in her first four years in the league, averaging around $97,000 per season. On the flip side, Victor Wembanyama, the top pick in the 2023 NBA draft, signed a four-year, $55.2 million rookie deal with the San Antonio Spurs. Therefore, the Frenchman gets paid more in salary every 1o days than the former Iowa Hawkeyes sensation will earn in the next four years.

Reese, the seventh pick in the 2024 WNBA draft, will earn even less.

Clark, Reese, and their peers have to shoulder the burden of bringing eyeballs to the WNBA and helping the league’s revenue skyrocket. Women’s basketball is undergoing a revolution, and young stars like Clark and Reese will have to lead the charge.

Post Edited By:Satagni Sikder

About the author

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar


Jay Lokegaonkar is a basketball journalist who has been following the sports as a fan 2005. He has worked in a slew of roles covering the NBA, including writer, editor, content manager, social media manager, and head of content since 2018. However, his primary passion is writing about the NBA. Especially throwback stories about the league's iconic players and franchises. Revisiting incredible tales and bringing scarcely believable stories to readers are one his main interests as a writer.

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