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The LSU Tigers are more than just Champions — They are icons

Angel Reese, Flau’Jae Johnson and company are stars on and off the court

NCAA Womens Basketball: Final Four National Championship-Louisiana State vs Iowa Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

LSU’s defense of their national title begins next week as the No. 1 ranked Tigers will open the 2023-24 season in Las Vegas against No. 20 Colorado.

The marquee event is fitting for a team brimming with stars. The Tigers got all but one first place vote in the AP’s preseason top 25 poll and are the betting favorites on DraftKings to cut down the nets in Cleveland come April.

While I am not a betting man, putting something down on the Tigers seems like a smart investment because LSU’s not just back they might even be better than last year’s group.

Regardless of what happens this season, there’s no denying that Angel Reese and her teammates aren’t just stars on the court, they’re stars off the court as well. Reese in particular is one of the game’s biggest stars, with an NIL valuation around $1.7 million.

Reese enjoyed a profitable summer, signing deals with Airbnb and Playstation, a shoe deal with Reebok, and was even in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue alongside fellow LSU athlete Livvy Dunne. Reese and Dunne became the first college athletes to ever appear in the swimsuit issue.

Reese is far from the only star on LSU’s roster, her teammate Flau’jae Johnson is right behind her with an NIL valuation around $1.1 million according to On3. Johnson has her fair share of endorsements including a shoe deal with Puma and even did a commercial with Reese for Amazon.

If basketball doesn’t work out for Johnson, she can always fall back on music as she has signed with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation.

Don’t get it twisted though, this is a basketball team first and foremost and a damn good one at that. In fact this LSU team might be better than last year’s group because not only do they bring back the core of last season they supplemented with the No. 1 recruiting and transfer class. Gone are Alexis Morris and LaDazhia Williams, in comes Hailey Van Lith and Aneesah Morrow, the top two players in the portal, plus No. 1 overall high school recruit Mikaylah Williams. Van Lith, surprise surprise, is also one of the biggest stars in college basketball as she has an endorsement deal with Adidas. In Reese, Johnson, and Van Lith, LSU has the Nos. 1, 2, and 5 players in terms of women’s basketball NIL valuations.

Under Kim Mulkey’s leadership, the LSU women’s basketball program has reached historic new heights and the Tigers have some of the biggest stars in the game. Basketball more than any other sport is a star driven game and LSU has it in droves.