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NBA World Reacts To Lakers Rookie's Odd Nickname

A closeup of a Lakers uniform.

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Most probably didn't expect rookie Austin Reaves to garner much attention during Los Angeles Lakers media day today. Much of the focus has understandably been on LeBron James, and the many new veteran surrounding him.

Reaves, a native of Newark, Arkansas (population ~1,200), began his college career at Wichita State, before becoming a standout scorer at Oklahoma. After averaging 18.3 points and 4.6 assists per game in 2020-21, he signed with L.A. as an undrafted free agent.

It didn't take long for his new pro teammates to warm to him. Today, he revealed he's been dubbed him with quite the nickname: "Hillbilly Kobe."

We've seen a few Lakers roleplayers given nicknames inspired by the late Kobe Bryant in recent years. Alex Caruso, a fan favorite who is now a Chicago Bull, became the "Bald Mamba," a play off of Kobe's "Black Mamba" moniker. Now, Reaves is next in line.

Reaves says the nickname stems from his time at Oklahoma. It is pretty neat, since apparently he grew up watching Bryant and the Lakers, and his grandmother's a diehard fan of Kobe.

Lakers fans are already taking to it.

Apparently not everyone has gotten the memo about "HBK" though.

Give it time, Talen. It seems to be sticking.

Lakers training camp begins today. The team opens preseason on Sunday against the Brooklyn Nets, while regular season play starts up on Oct. 19, with a home game against the Golden State Warriors.