LSU has plenty of alumni it can brag about, including four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal. However, the legendary big man doesn't consider himself the greatest athlete to come out of the school. His pick? Women's basketball star Angel Reese.
"She's probably the greatest athlete ever to come out of LSU sports. You heard it here first," he said in The Big Pod. "Male and female. Ever."
O'Neal was a Tiger from 1989 to 1992. During that time, he was a two-time All-American, two-time SEC Player of the Year, and he received the Adolph Rupp Player of the Year award in 1991 -- the same year he led the nation in rebounds. LSU retired his No. 33 jersey in 2000. Before that, the school had retired only three other jerseys: Billy Cannon, Bob Petit, and 'Pistol' Pete Maravich.
O'Neal was asked to clarify if he thought Reese was a greater Tiger than he was, and he quickly and confidently answered with "yes."
After transferring from Maryland, Reese just completed her first season with Kim Mulkey and the Tigers. It was quite the season as she led the team with 23.3 points and 15.6 rebounds per game while picking up 34 double-doubles, which was a single-season NCAA record. But more importantly, O'Neal said, she helped LSU earn the first basketball national title -- men's or women's -- in school history.
"See, a lot of us got the package, and we still got the package in our truck. She delivered that package," O'Neal said. "It's a lot of names to throw around, men and women, but she is probably the greatest athlete. Some people are going to exclude it to 'woman athletes.' I'm not doing that."
Reese is not the only athlete to bring a championship to LSU. Joe Burrow, who transferred from Ohio State, led the football team to a national championship trophy in 2019. Burrow is now a thriving NFL quarterback, and O'Neal is well aware of his accomplishments. However, he still prefers Reese over Burrow.
"She is the greatest athlete to ever come out of LSU because she got it done. Joe Burrow got it done a couple of years ago, but she is way more athletic than he is," O'Neal said.