After Winning Over Lebron James, “Hillbilly Kobe” Finally Receives the Same Honor as the Late Lakers Legend, Kobe Bryant

Published 09/01/2023, 1:41 PM EDT

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The main dream of a basketball player across the world is to make it in the NBA. It is the biggest basketball league in the world, the most respected and most prestigious. Only a few people with an extreme caliber make it through, the rest of them just dream. Like this, there was a boy from a small town in Arkansas who achieved his dream with sheer passion and dedication.

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Not only did he defy the odds to become a professional basketball player, but he also became the rising star of the LA Lakers. He even got selected to represent his nation at the FIBA World Cup.

Hillbilly Kobe receives the same honor as Kobe Bryant

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Austin Reaves embraced the war cry that has motivated him throughout his basketball career from the start. Few expected a player from a small Arkansas town to make it to the professional level, let alone flourish on the international stage. His strong rookie season earned him the nickname “Hillbilly Kobe.”. Reaves’ rise over the last several years, on the other hand, has been nothing short of meteoric. Although being an undrafted rookie, has become a standout player on the international stage.

With LeBron James nearing the end of his career, Reaves’ confidence on the FIBA stage is likely to cement his position as one of the league’s brightest combo guards. And even in the FIBA World Cup, Reaves received validation from the fans. When one fan held up a sign saying, “Austin Reaves > LeBron James”. However, he took it with a laugh and said, “I’ve not talked to Bron. I’m sure he’s seen it. He’s active on social media. I’ve said in my interview ‘I really appreciate the poster but it’s kinda not realistic. Bron’s the greatest player ever.” 

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FIBA World Cup 2023: Why Is Lakers’ Austin Reaves Steve Kerr’s Star Man for Team USA?

But the validation does not stop here! Reaves receives one from the city of LA. Los Angeles has a long history of welcoming basketball luminaries, from Kobe Bryant to LeBron James. Austin Reaves is now winning the hearts of Angelenos. Gustavo Zermeno Jr., also known as gz. jr, is a well-known street artist who has left his imprint on the city with breathtaking murals of sports giants such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and others.

What’s truly astonishing is that an Austin Reaves painting now graces the LA neighborhood of Hawthorne. The struggle Reaves had to endure for so many years finally paid off, and it all just started with a small boy who had big dreams.

A small-town boy with big dreams

Austin Reaves’ path to the NBA is one of unshakable tenacity, resilience, and a desire to prove his critics wrong. Many thought he was too weak and little for the challenges of the game because he was from a small village. Despite his small-town background, Reaves defied expectations and pursued a career in the NBA, facing numerous uncertainties.

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Before the NBA draft, Reaves’ agent posed a vital question: Why are you embarking on this difficult journey? Was it the money, the vehicles, the clothing, the fame, or the ladies that drew you in? His response was a thundering defiance: To tell everybody to f**k off”. He’d heard one argument after another about why he wouldn’t make it his whole life, but he was determined to show them all wrong.

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Reaves’ college performance was also so spectacular that he earned the First-Team All-Big 12 honors during the 2020-2021 season. Despite his achievements at the college level, Reaves went undrafted into the 2021 NBA Draft. This failure, however, did not discourage him. He signed a two-way contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, kicking off his incredible adventure in the world’s top basketball league. He gained attention for his flexibility, scoring prowess, great ball handling, and exceptional ball rotation abilities. Then, by performing extremely well whenever he got the chance, he cemented his place as a budding star. And today Reaves has become a global sensation.

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Austin Reaves’ tale exemplifies a small-town kid’s tenacity and determination to become an NBA phenomenon. His story is motivating others to dream and work relentlessly to accomplish their dreams, despite the impossible obstacles.

Watch this Story: Shaquille O’Neal Subtly Warns Austin Reaves and Anthony Edwards of a Storm Coming, as NBA All Star-Led Rivals Smoke Latvia to Overshadow Team USA

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Written by:

Dhruv Shastry

703Articles

One take at a time

Dhruv is an NBA writer at ES with years of playing experience to name. Despite the ankle injury barring him from playing further, he never lost touch with the sport. He loves the swag and the attitude basketball players possess.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja

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