Much has been said about the Los Angeles Lakers’ aging roster, but the purple and gold introduced one of their newest raw talents on Media Day 2021 when the undrafted Austin Reaves, aka “Hillbilly Kobe,” took the stage.
“That’s what they say,” the rookie explained when asked about his nickname.
During his interview, the six-foot-five guard explained he was christened “Hillbilly Kobe,” his first year playing for the University of Oklahoma.
Ladies and gentleman…
Hillbilly Kobe. 😂#LakeShow
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNationLAX) September 28, 2021
Reaves averaged 18.3 points on 44.3 percent shooting, 4.6 assists, and 5.5 rebounds in his last season with the Sooners before going undrafted in August.
He appeared in five games for the Lakers during the Summer League, where he averaged 6.6 points, 2.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.0 steal.
The Lakers signed the 23-year-old to a standard contract a day before Media Day.
“With all the superstars we got on this team, six Hall of Famers if not more, it’s crazy walking into the gym. I mean, my whole life, I grew up watching these kinds of guys play,” said Reaves. “It was crazy seeing it all and knowing I was gonna be a part of it in some way.”
The rookie said that his role on a roster of veterans is come to work every single day and be prepared.
Reaves, who grew up on a farm in Newark, Arkansas, explained that rooting for the Lakers was already in the family DNA by way of his grandma.
“She’s just happy and proud of me. She was a diehard Kobe fan so just being in this situation is surreal to her. She’s more than proud for me and really she just wants to see me be happy and succeed.
If the Lakers prevail and win the title next June, not only would they get Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony their first chip, LA would pass Boston for the most titles in the league at 18.