The Chicago Sky really fumbled Angel Reese’s introductory press conference

OPINION: Newly drafted WNBA player Angel Reese was not given the same fanfare shown to other players such as Caitlin Clark and Alissa Pili. 

Angel Reese #10 of the LSU Tigers looks on during the first half against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on April 01, 2024 in Albany, New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Women’s basketball is hot right now. 

I feel very confident saying that during the NCAA tournament, I saw way more excitement over the women’s games than I did over the men’s, and the NCAA confirmed that viewership for the women’s final, which peaked at 24 million, was larger than the viewership for the men’s final for the first time in history. It was also the most-watched sporting event (outside of football and the Olympics) since 2019. 

We are experiencing a moment right now. 

Women’s basketball isn’t new, but this latest class of stars in the game has brought a new legion of fans to the sport, creating a hype and a fervor that has led to tickets for multiple WNBA  teams becoming nearly impossible to get ahead of the start of the season. 

The price of the WNBA League Pass has gone up to $35 this year, which is a $10 increase from last year’s price.

(If you care at all about women’s basketball and seeing these women get a fair wage, support the league by subscribing to the pass. You spend more on coffee in a week. That’s the end of my soapbox rant.)

Just days after Angel Reese was drafted to the Chicago Sky, her jersey (No. 5) sold out on the WNBA website and ticket sales for Chicago Sky games spiked, according to WGN

The doll formerly known as the Bayou Barbie is now going to be known as Chi Barbie, and she is as excited about playing in the WNBA as the WNBA fans are to see her play. 

Considering the buzz and excitement surrounding Angel Reese, I was shocked to see the lackluster welcome press conference that was held for her.

Reese arrived in Chicago last Tuesday, and on Wednesday, her welcome press conference took place in a park gymnasium with very little fanfare, a small gathering of press, and no cheering fans. 

One look at the comments on that video from the Chicago Sky YouTube channel, as well as multiple videos on TikTok, will show that fans did not appreciate the bland welcome for someone who is bringing a lot of star power to the team and the city. 

Compared to the reception Caitlin Clark received in Indiana and what the Minnesota Lynx did to welcome Alissa Pili, it was pretty bland. 

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The Indiana Fever treated Clark like royalty by literally rolling out the red carpet for her and transporting her to the conference in a Mercedes Sprinter van where screaming fans were there to greet her.

The Minnesota Lynx honored Pili, who is of Alaskan and Samoan descent, by having tribal dancers perform. She was also welcomed by Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.

It was a poor showing on Chicago’s part, but it also highlights the continued disparity between the way Angel Reese gets treated overall versus everyone else. 

Granted, it’s not guaranteed that Angel will even actually make the team, as she herself acknowledged in her welcome press conference, but she still should have been celebrated in a way that honors the major accomplishment of being the seventh pick in the first round of the WNBA draft. 

This feels like a failure on the part of the Chicago Sky press team because Kamilla Cardosa’s press conference appeared to take place over Zoom for whatever reason. 

No matter the reason, Angel Reese deserves better. She’s worked hard to get to where she is, and she’s determined to earn her spot on the Sky. 

“.. It’s crazy being able to see the impact,” she said at her press conference. “As a little girl, I always looked up to so many great players in the WNBA. Now, being able to see my name on the back of a jersey is amazing. I haven’t even made the team yet, obviously. Being able to just be in this moment and understanding what it means to be here – because everybody doesn’t get this opportunity – like I said, I’m not going to take this for granted. I want to come in and work hard every day and do whatever it takes because I don’t want my spot taken.”

Despite the lackluster welcome conference, Angel seems to get it. 

Let’s hope the Chicago Sky press team gets it in the future.


thegrio.com

Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at moniquejudge.com.

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