SI Swimsuit Introduces Basketball Star Angel Reese as Newest Model

Angel Reese is not only a newly-crowned basketball champ, she's also Sports Illustrated Swimsuit's newest model.

The stellar athlete made her debut with the famed publication in the May 2023 issue's reveal, allowing the NCAA women's championship tournament's Most Outstanding Player of the Year to add yet another accolade to her growing list of accomplishments.

In case you missed it: last month, 9.9 million people tuned in to witness the Baltimore-native lead the Louisiana State University Tigers women's basketball team to victory in a history-making competition. On April 2, 2023, LSU defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes in a final score of 102-85, winning their first-ever national championship. The game also marked the highest-scoring championship game in women's NCAA history.

“Having so many people come back to me and say, ‘You guys have changed the game. You guys have been a part of history,’ I embraced that,” Reese told SI Swim of the feat. “Just being able to be a part of this has just been amazing for me this year, and it's been a blessing.”

For her first spot with the iconic brand, she posed for photographer Yu Tsai in Los Angeles and chatted about life lately—from the viral gesture during gameplay that caused "controversy" to what's next on the horizon for the 21-year-old star.

<p>Yu Tsai&sol;Sports Illustrated</p>

Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated

As one of the top NIL earners at $1.3 million—with deals for Coach, Amazon Merch on Demand, McDonald’s and Mercedes Benz-Baton Rouge—Reese knows firsthand what it's like to be in the spotlight, but stepping into this new role seems to be right up her alley.

"I embrace my body and who I am, and every mark on my body. I probably feel the sexiest in a bathing suit,” she noted while sporting bikinis for the shoot, attributing her confidence to her mother, Angel Webb, also a former professional basketball player.

And, in sports, confidence and competition go hand in hand for Reese. While she may have made headlines for that “you can’t see me” hand wave á la John Cena toward her Iowa opponent, the junior forward insists the media made too much of the moment.

“It’s just being able to force people to accept that women can talk trash. The women's side gets penalized for it, or we're considered as not ladylike and that we're not playing by the rules," she noted, doubling down that she's tired of the "pitting women against women narrative."

The standout athlete continued: "We work just as hard as the men. Women can be who we are; women can be competitive."

Check out the rest of Reese's stunning photos over at SI Swimsuit.