This past season, Los Angeles Lakers swingman Austin Reaves became a fan favorite and a diamond in the rough.
As an undrafted rookie, it was initially thought he may spend time in the G League, but he quickly got a considerable amount of playing time and proved he could play well.
Reaves has shown a versatile skill set and visceral feel for the game that few rookies, let alone undrafted rookies, ever display.
It led to him earning two nicknames: “Hillbilly Kobe” and “AR-15.”
He doesn’t like either nickname. Reaves feels “Hillbilly Kobe” shouldn’t be used out of respect for the late great Kobe Bryant, and he would rather not be called “AR-15” since it is the name of a popular semi-automatic rifle that has been used in many mass shootings across the nation.
But the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green and former Laker Kyle Kuzma want Reaves to embrace being called “Hillbilly Kobe.”
“Brother, you have not done enough in your career to be trying to shed nicknames that people gave you,” Green said. “I was really blown away when he said that. Brother, you should take those nicknames and try to run with them…”
“Personally, ‘Hillbilly Kobe’ is lit,” said Kuzma.
The 6-foot-6 man has been working in plenty of work this summer, including bulking up in order to withstand the rigors of the NBA season.
A major improvement in his 3-point shooting would go a long way in helping the Lakers recover from the disaster of a season they recently had.