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Angel Reese shows off custom shoes ahead of WNBA rematch with Caitlin Clark

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Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark helped bring unprecedented attention to women’s basketball.

Clark was the first player selected in the 2024 WNBA Draft, while the Chicago Sky used the seventh overall pick for Reese. The excitement surrounding the star players has carried over from college to the professional ranks, and Sunday afternoon will mark the second time Reese and Clark square off in the WNBA.

The first matchup between the Sky and Fever was marred by a controversial foul. Sky guard Chennedy Carter made a basket late in the third quarter. She then shifted to defense and began guarding Clark, who was attempting to get open to receive an inbound pass.

Clark never touched the ball as Carter delivered a shoulder check, which knocked the Fever star to the hardwood. Referees immediately called a foul on Carter.

Reese is once again bringing some special sneakers with her for the highly anticipated rematch. The Sky forward will be sporting a custom pair of Joker-themed sneakers for the Father’s Day matchup with the Fever.

The purple, red and white shoes feature a green Reebok logo. A rendering of the Joker’s infamous smile is also painted on the front of the sneakers, and the words “Ha Ha” are visible.

ANGEL REESE CREDITS LSU COACH KIM MULKEY FOR EARLY WNBA SUCCESS

Reese inked a name, image and likeness (NIL) deal with Reebok in October, and she serves as a brand ambassador for the company. Reese also has a collection of shoes and athletic wear by Reebok.

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While the message of the custom shoes is unclear, some have speculated the footwear is another sign Reese is further embracing playing the villain.

“It all started from the national championship game,” Reese told reporters June 3. ” I’ve been dealing with this for two years now. Understanding, yeah, negative things have probably been said about me. But, honestly, I’ll take that because look where women’s basketball is. People are talking about women’s basketball (who) you would never think would be talking about women’s basketball.

“People are pulling up to games. We got celebrities coming to games, sold-out arenas, just because of one single game. And just look at that. I’ll take that role. I’ll take the bad guy role. And I’ll continue to take that on and be that villain for my teammates. If I wanna be that, I know I’ll go down in history. I’ll look back in 20 years. Like, the reason why we’re watching women’s basketball is not just because of one person. It’s because of me too. I want y’all to realize that.”

Reese and Clark went head-to-head in the 2023 NCAA Division I women’s basketball national championship game. Reese and LSU defeated Clark and Iowa, but the Hawkeyes came out on top in early April during the Elite Eight.  

Reese pointing to her ring finger in the final moments of the 2023 national title game became the lasting image. Since then, the perceived rivalry between Reese and Clark has been widely discussed.

Angel Reese taunts Caitlin Clark

Both players have said they have respect for each other’s game and that the rivalry is not bitter or personal.

“Me and Caitlin Clark don’t hate each other,” Reese said in April during the NCAA tournament. “I want everybody to understand that. It’s just a super-competitive game. Once I get between those lines, there’s no friends. I have plenty of friends on the court that I talk to outside of the game, but like when I get between those lines, we’re not friends. We’re not buddies. I’m going to talk trash to you. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get in your head the whole entire game, but after the game we can kick it.”

Clark complimented Reese for her competitive spirit, saying, “Me and Angel have always been great competitors.”

Caitlin Clark takes the ball up

Clark added that the great talent and competition have helped elevate women’s basketball.

“The biggest thing is women’s basketball is in a really great place,” Clark said in March.

Reese is averaging 12.2 points and 10 rebounds over her first 12 WNBA games. She said she is having fun as she continues to work her way through the transition from college to the pros.

“It’s been great,” Reese told ESPN earlier this season. “Just being able to affect the game in different ways, understanding the transition and just giving myself grace and being patient with everything. I’ve been able to have fun out there and grow every game.”

Clark is averaging 15.6 points and six assists per game. She tied her career-best 30 points June 7 in a win over the Washington Mystics.

The tip-off for the nationally televised game is 12 p.m. ET.

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