We are in unprecedented times in the WNBA as it relates to the league’s popularity.

Some, like ESPN’s Pat McAfee, would argue Caitlin Clark is most responsible for the heightened attention on the W. But Angel Reese, who developed a rivalry with Clark in the collegiate ranks two years ago, knows she’s playing a hugely important role as well.

“It all started from the national championship game. I’ve been dealing with this for two years now,” Reese told reporters Monday, as seen on WGN9 News in Chicago. “Understanding like, yeah, negative things have probably been said about me. But, honestly, I’ll take that ’cause look where women’s basketball is. People are talking about women’s basketball that 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. Like, just because of one single game.

“Looking at that, like, I’ll take that role. I’ll take the bad guy role and I’ll continue to take that on and be that for my teammates. I know I’ll go down in history. I’ll look back in 20 years and be like, yeah, the reason why we’re watching women’s basketball is not because of one person. It’s because of me, too, and I want you all to realize that.”

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Reese is right, and she figures to continue to be a driving force that helps take the WNBA to new heights. While the newfound attention will inevitably lead to exhausting and unnecessary talking points, the growing popularity seemingly should only be beneficial to the league in the long run.

Featured image via Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports Images