August 9, 2022

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10:39 AM ET LOS ANGELES — Lakers guard Austin Reaves is open to a brand...

10:39 AM ET

LOS ANGELES — Lakers guard Austin Reaves is open to a brand new nickname.

Throughout a surprisingly profitable rookie season during which Reaves went from being an undrafted prospect to a two-way designation to signing a two-year contract and turning into a starter, he picked up a few monikers from the Lakers trustworthy: “AR-15” and “Hillbilly Kobe.”

Reaves can be OK distancing himself from each.

“I do not condone any gun violence that occurs round our nation,” Reaves informed ESPN. “However you’ll be able to’t actually management what [nickname] individuals offer you. I imply, I did not come out and say my identify was that. There’s been others, just like the ‘Hillbilly Kobe,’ that most likely aren’t the most effective factor within the state of affairs that is occurring, with Kobe’s passing.”

Earlier this week, University of Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, who, like Reaves, wears No. 15 on his uniform, also dropped the AR-15 association.

“Whereas a nickname is barely a nickname and ‘AR-15’ was merely a illustration of my initials mixed with my jersey quantity, you will need to me that my identify and model are now not related to the assault rifle that has been utilized in mass capturing, which I don’t condone in any method or type,” Richardson shared in an announcement on Twitter.

Reaves, 24, got here throughout Richardson’s story and was impressed by the 21-year-old rising junior.

“I am completely satisfied for him. I need him to make use of his voice,” Reaves stated. “Everyone ought to be capable to communicate freely on what they consider. I really feel like extra individuals have to take stands like this and say what they’re actually feeling as a result of that is the way you get issues introduced up. That is the way you pose questions to lift eyebrows and look into issues. So, I am completely satisfied for him and need him nothing however the most effective.”

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An AR-15 semi-automatic rifle was the gun used at an Uvalde, Texas, elementary college in Might when 21 individuals — the vast majority of them kids — have been killed. It has been the weapon of alternative in 11 mass shootings in the USA since 2012, in line with USA At the moment.

“Each time one thing like that occurs, your coronary heart simply drops and you are feeling for the households that have been connected to all that,” Reaves stated.

Reaves wore No. 12 his “complete life” however had to decide on a unique quantity when he got here to L.A. as a result of Kendrick Nunn already claimed it. After testing out No. 31 throughout summer time league final 12 months — the quantity his brother wears and the one his mom wore on the basketball court docket — he determined {that a} decrease quantity suited him higher.

“I simply did not actually like the way it regarded on me,” he stated of No. 31. “Fifteen is similar to 12. The 5 and the 2 are simply flipped.”

Though the Newark, Arkansas, native grew up capturing weapons, that utilization was vastly completely different from how artillery has been part of the general public massacres plaguing the U.S.

“It is actually simply farm floor,” Reaves stated of his tiny hometown that boasts a inhabitants of simply 1,200. “Individuals hunt. You deer hunt. You duck hunt. You turkey hunt. You do all these issues.”

He’s hopeful his play this coming season will encourage Lakers followers to provide you with a brand new label for him.

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“I am at all times open to new concepts,” he stated. “As a result of there may be at all times one other one which may stick and could possibly be higher than one other one which was earlier. So I am at all times open to new issues and for individuals to actually open up their brains and form of consider new issues for me. That stuff helps us out too in branding conditions and stuff like that.”

Most of all, after the Lakers’ struggles final season, Reaves hopes to be branded as a winner.

“The principle purpose is simply profitable basketball video games,” Reaves stated when requested to stay up for his objectives for his second season. “That is all I care about. Successful. Final 12 months was a disappointment, however you bought to flip the web page and work out how we are able to mesh this to make it work.”