‘Fake it till you make it’: Austin Reaves’ rise from cult favorite to LA Lakers star

The LA crowd favorite reflects on his journey from rural Arkansas to sharing top billing with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the NBA’s glitziest market and featuring on Team USA

“Go win the ball game, AR! Go win the ball game!” LeBron James is shouting in Austin Reaves’ ear as he speaks to a reporter for a walk-off interview. It is just moments after the Lakers’ scintillating overtime win against the Clippers on their shared home turf in Los Angeles, marking their first win against their Crypto.com Arena co-tenants in a dozen tries. Reaves, of course, didn’t single-handedly secure the victory. It was a true team effort, led by James himself setting the record for most points ever (35) by a player in their 21st season.

But James is emphasizing the conclusion to which everyone in the organization (and many more in the NBA at large) have already arrived: Reaves is – as he bellowed after sinking a half-court buzzer-beater against the Golden State Warriors during last year’s playoffs – him.

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