After a surprising rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers, 24-year-old guard Austin Reaves is in search of a new nickname heading into the 2022-23 NBA season.
Reaves’ impactful high-energy performance on both ends of the floor earned him a couple of nicknames inspired by his childhood story and basketball play style. The two popular nicknames he picked up this previous season were ‘AR-15’ and ‘Hillbilly Kobe.’
In an interview with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Reaves has made it clear that he is comfortable from dissociating himself from both nicknames that he did not coin himself, recognizing that the monikers can be sensitive to society in light of current events:
“I don’t condone any gun violence that happens around our country,” Reaves told ESPN. “But you can’t really control what [nickname] people give you. I mean, I didn’t come out and say my name was that. There’s been others, like the ‘Hillbilly Kobe,’ that probably aren’t the best thing in the situation that’s going on, with Kobe’s passing.”
Standing up for what you believe in is exactly what Reaves is doing due to these sensitive nicknames. Reaves is not alone in trying to distance himself from the ‘AR-15’ nickname, as University of Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson also does not want to have the gun rifle nickname in light of the recent mass shootings in the United States.
As Reaves continues to improve and make himself known on the hardwood, the former University of Oklahoma guard values a nickname that takes his hard-work on the court to newer heights in the business branding side of being a professional athlete:
“I’m always open to new ideas,” he said. “Because there is always another one that might stick and could be better than another one that was previous. So I’m always open to new things and for people to really open up their brains and kind of think of new things for me. That stuff helps us out too in branding situations and stuff like that.”
After averaging 7.3 points on 46 percent shooting from the field and 84 percent from the free-throw line, Reaves has established himself as a key part in the Lakers’ rotation heading into next season, and even LeBron James knows the young guard is ‘special.’
While Reaves has accomplished his individual goals climbing from an undrafted rookie to a potential starter, his ultimate priority is on team success and the Lakers being better this upcoming season:
“The main goal is just winning basketball games,” Reaves said when asked to look ahead to his goals for his second season. “That’s all I care about. Winning. Last year was a disappointment, but you got to flip the page and figure out how we can mesh this to make it work.”
As Reaves takes this offseason to work on his body and skillset, the individual improvement the young guard will hopefully display next season will be exciting for the Lakers faithful to see, and coin him a new nickname for his fan-favorite style of play.
Kendrick Perkins Has Anthony Davis As His 2022-23 NBA MVP Winner
Lakers star Anthony Davis has taken the initiative to prove the doubters about his health and play wrong, but also prove himself, the Lakers, and the fans right in believing that he can get back to being one of the best players in the league heading into next season.
With Davis being one of the biggest talking points for the Lakers’ success next season, ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins boldly predicted that the Brow will win the MVP award next year because of his Kobe-like work-ethic this summer in three-a-days and 4 a.m. workouts.
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