Lakers’ Austin Reaves explains why he’s ‘Hillbilly Kobe’

Lakers Austin Reaves explains why hes Hillbilly Kobe
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The Lakers had the real Kobe Bryant on their roster for 20 years.

Now they’re starting Year 1 with the player known as “Hillbilly Kobe.”

Ladies and gentleman, meet undrafted rookie Austin Reaves, who was asked about the nickname Tuesday during a Lakers media day session with reporters.

“My first year at Oklahoma we had a [graduate assistant], he came up to me one day and was like, ‘I figured it out,” Reaves said in his Southern drawl.

“And I was like, ‘Uh, what are you even talking about?’

“And he was like, ‘HBK.’

“And I was like, ‘What?’

“And he was like, ‘Hillbilly Kobe.’

“And I was like [shaking head], ‘Aw, whatever,’ and then one of the teammates heard it and it just stuck.

“So for three years that’s what they said around, I mean, just like Oklahoma and I guess people caught wind of it elsewhere.

“But, I mean, it is what it is, you know, I just move forward from it.”

Reaves later was asked if he’s more hillbilly or more Kobe.

“Man, I don’t even know,” said Reaves, who added that he grew up on a farm in Arkansas. “We’ll go 50-50.”

Reaves signed a two-year contract with the Lakers earlier this week, beating out a host of veterans for the roster spot. The first year is partially guaranteed with a team option for the second, The Times’ Dan Woike reported Sunday.

Reaves averaged 18.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists as a senior with the Sooners. The Lakers signed him to play with their team in the Las Vegas Summer League and gave him a two-way contract before signing him to the two-year deal.

Told of his new teammate’s nickname during his own session with reporters, Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker responded, “Seriously?” and then laughed for several seconds.

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