The Los Angeles Lakers made a bit of a surprising decision for their 14th roster spot, elevating rookie Austin Reaves from his two-way status as opposed to signing a player from outside the organization.
The Lakers worked out a number of different veteran players but it seems none of them impressed as much as Reaves, who has reportedly looked good in recent workouts after being a Summer League standout.
While Lakers fans don’t know a ton about Reaves, who went undrafted out of Oklahoma, at Lakers Media Day on Tuesday everyone learned of his awesome nickname “Hillbilly Kobe.”
“So my first year at Oklahoma, we had a GA his name was Anthony Rainey, he came up to me one day and was like, I figured it out. And I was like, uh, what are you, what are you even talking about? And he was like HBK. And I was like, what? He was like, Hillbilly Kobe. I was like, ah, whatever. And then one of the teammates heard it and it just stuck. So for three years, that’s what they said around just Oklahoma and then I guess people caught wind of it elsewhere. But it is what it is. I just move forward from it.”
The nickname is so funny that it even had Talen Horton-Tucker cracking up when he heard it for the first time, via LakeShowScoop:
THT learning Austin Reaves nickname is “Hillbilly Kobe” is the most wholesome thing you’ll see all day ???????????? pic.twitter.com/j2xH6SXAQs
— LakeShowScoop (@LakeShowScoop) September 28, 2021
Reaves is from Arkansas so while he is not really a hillbilly, he said he grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere. He has also already proven to have the clutch gene that Kobe displayed so many times, sinking a putback buzzer-beater to give the Lakers a win in the Las Vegas Summer League.
When asked if he’s more hillbilly or Kobe, Reaves had an amazing answer.
“I don’t even know. We’ll go 50/50.”
While Reaves likely won’t get much playing time this season, he is clearly someone the Lakers see potential in for the future, and it helps that he’s already becoming a fan favorite.
Horton-Tucker learned ‘business side’ of basketball this summer
Reaves is one of 11 new players on the Lakers roster as the only returners from last season are Horton-Tucker, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Horton-Tucker, who re-signed with the Lakers as a restricted free agent this summer, spoke about what he learned from so much roster turnover.
“Just learning that it’s the NBA. Just being around, having different teammates and just seeing the guys that came in and left out this locker room it’s just showing me that it’s a business side to everything. So just being able to be here, I’m appreciative of it still.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!