Lakers’ Reaves needs to shed ‘AR-15’ nickname

Lakers’ Reaves needs to shed ‘AR-15’ nickname

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10:39 AM ET

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

All through a shockingly a success rookie season by which Reaves went from being an undrafted prospect to a two-way designation to signing a two-year contract and changing into a starter, he picked up a few monikers from the Lakers devoted: “AR-15” and “Hillbilly Kobe.”

Reaves can be OK distancing himself from each.

“I don’t condone any gun violence that occurs round our nation,” Reaves instructed ESPN. “However you’ll’t in reality regulate what [nickname] other people provide you with. I imply, I didn’t pop out and say my identify used to be that. There’s been others, just like the ‘Hillbilly Kobe,’ that almost certainly aren’t the most productive factor within the state of affairs that’s happening, with Kobe’s passing.”

Previous this week, College of Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, who, like Reaves, wears No. 15 on his uniform, additionally dropped the AR-15 affiliation.

“Whilst a nickname is just a nickname and ‘AR-15’ used to be merely a illustration of my initials mixed with my jersey quantity, it is very important me that my identify and emblem are not related to the attack rifle that has been utilized in mass capturing, which I don’t condone whatsoever or shape,” Richardson shared in a remark on Twitter.

Reaves, 24, got here throughout Richardson’s tale and used to be inspired by way of the 21-year-old emerging junior.

“I’m glad for him. I need him to make use of his voice,” Reaves mentioned. “Everyone will have to have the ability to talk freely on what they imagine. I believe like extra other people want to take stands like this and say what they’re in reality feeling as a result of that’s the way you get issues introduced up. That’s the way you pose questions to lift eyebrows and glance into issues. So, I’m glad for him and need him not anything however the most productive.”

An AR-15 semi-automatic rifle used to be the gun used at an Uvalde, Texas, basic college in Would possibly when 21 other people — nearly all of them youngsters — have been killed. It’s been the weapon of selection in 11 mass shootings in the US since 2012, consistent with USA Nowadays.

“Each and every time one thing like that occurs, your center simply drops and you are feeling for the households that have been hooked up to all that,” Reaves mentioned.

Reaves wore No. 12 his “entire lifestyles” however had to make a choice a unique quantity when he got here to L.A. as a result of Kendrick Nunn already claimed it. After trying out out No. 31 all through summer time league final yr — the quantity his brother wears and the only his mom wore at the basketball courtroom — he made up our minds {that a} decrease quantity suited him higher.

“I simply didn’t in reality like the way it seemed on me,” he mentioned of No. 31. “Fifteen is similar to 12. The 5 and the 2 are simply flipped.”

Despite the fact that the Newark, Arkansas, local grew up capturing weapons, that utilization used to be massively other from how artillery has been part of the general public massacres plaguing the U.S.

“It’s actually simply farm floor,” Reaves mentioned of his tiny native land that boasts a inhabitants of simply 1,200. “Folks hunt. You deer hunt. You duck hunt. You turkey hunt. You do all the ones issues.”

He’s hopeful his play this coming season will encourage Lakers enthusiasts to get a hold of a brand new label for him.

“I’m at all times open to new concepts,” he mentioned. “As a result of there’s at all times any other person who would possibly stick and might be higher than any other person who used to be earlier. So I’m at all times open to new issues and for other people to in reality open up their brains and more or less bring to mind new issues for me. That stuff is helping us out too in branding scenarios and stuff like that.”

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

“The principle objective is simply successful basketball video games,” Reaves mentioned when requested to stay up for his targets for his 2d season. “That’s all I care about. Profitable. Closing yr used to be a sadness, however you were given to turn the web page and determine how we will mesh this to make it paintings.”

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