Why does Angel Reese wear a leg sleeve? Heartbreaking story about scars after a major surgery. Reese: “I have a rod in my leg. “I was like, ‘Do I wanna play basketball anymore?’ “

Angel Reese of LSU and Mossi Staples of Coppin State in action during a NCAA Women's Basketball game between LSU Lady Tigers and Coppin State Eagles at the Coppin State Physical Education Complex
There is a specific reason why Angel Reese wears a single leg sleeve (

Image: Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

Angel Reese is one of the most recognizable women’s college basketball players today. As a result, everything the LSU star does on and off the court – from how she chooses to accessorize for games to her hairstyle – garners attention.

One of the more interesting facets of Reese’s look is the fact she only wears one leg sleeve, on her left leg. Typically, basketball players use leg sleeves on both their legs or none at all – though it is becoming more common to see athletes wearing only a single leg sleeve.

Reese’s single leg sleeve matches her jersey, regardless of color. That said, there are a handful of reasons why the LSU star elects to only wear one leg sleeve during a time when players choose to either wear both or none at all.

READ MORE: Angel Reese’s explanation for avoiding wild fight with South Carolina raises injury worry
READ MORE: Shaquille O’Neal called up Angel Reese after LSU fought with South Carolina at SEC Tournament final

Below, Mirror Sports US explores the meaning behind Angel Reese’s game day apparel..

Why does Angel Reese wear one leg sleeve?

For Reese, one of the reasons why she wears a single sleeve is to pay homage to two players she looks up to: Las Vegas Aces superstar A’ja Wilson, who competed in college at South Carolina, and former Los Angeles Sparks guard Te’a Cooper. Both players famously wear a single leg sleeve during their time in the WNBA, with Wilson dominating on a nightly basis while only having one sleeve.

Wilson played at South Carolina, while Cooper played for LSU under head coach Kim Mulkey. Reese admitted that both Wilson and Cooper were players she admires.

The other reason why Reese wears a sleeve on her left leg is more personal. In 2023, Reese revealed that the reason she prefers to wear a sleeve on her left leg as opposed to her right is because of a surgical operation, which resulted in a big scar.

Angel Reese of the LSU Lady Tigers dribbles the ball against Jordyn Oliver #11 of the Vanderbilt Commodores during a game at Vanderbilt University Memorial Gymnasium

There are two reasons why Angel Reese only wears a single leg sleeve during games 

Photo by Carly Mackler/Getty Images)
“I had surgery two years ago on my shin. I have a rod in my leg,” Reese said at the time, per NOLA.com. “Many people don’t know that. I cover the scar for one … but I’ve used it to cover my scar.”

The surgery Reese is referring to was to fix a split shinbone in her leg, which came after she underwent surgery to install a screw in her foot after she fractured her toe while playing at Maryland during the 2020-21 season. Reese admitted during an appearance on the “I Am Athlete” podcast in April 2023 that the injuries took a toll on her mentally.

“My confidence completely dropped,” Reese shared with Brandon Marshall and co-host Ashley Nicole Moss. “I was like, ‘Do I wanna play basketball anymore?’ Back to back. Like I had high expectations.”

Reese added: “Everybody thinks I’m gonna do this. But I didn’t even believe I could do it anymore. Because I thought I gained my love for the game back and then I lose it again.”

It seems as if Reese has regained her passion for the game since transferring to LSU, winning the the 2023 NCAA national championship against Iowa, 102-85. Reese also showcased her all-around game, scoring 15 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out five assists in the win.

Reese and LSU are hoping to repeat as champions this year, with her one leg sleeve on full display as she attempts to lead the team to the ultimate college basketball prize in March Madness.


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