Austin Reaves: LeBron James laughed off my 2012 Kobe Bryant meme

04.26.23 Austin Reaves is the Lakers Not So Secret Weapon Horizontal

As a 13-year-old in 2012, Austin Reaves was a huge Kobe Bryant fan. So much so that he posted memes ripping a 27-year-old LeBron James for not winning an NBA title.

During the 2011-12 season, before James led the Miami Heat to an NBA championship, Reaves posted a meme on Facebook that read: “When I need some peace and quiet, I set my phone to LeBron mode, no ring.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: Austin Reaves #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates his three point basket against the Golden State Warriors with LeBron James #6 during the third quarter in game four of the Western Conference Semifinal Playoffs at Arena on May 08, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

Bryant shrugged in the caption.

The Oklahoma product is now teammates with James on the Los Angeles Lakers, and the two have a strong bond, although Reaves quickly confessed his old Facebook posts ripping James.

According to Melissa Rohlin of Fox Sports, Reaves told Bron, “Look, I sucked on you back in 2012. I was a Kobe fan.” James laughed it off.

After just two seasons with the Lakers, Reaves has flourished under one of the greatest players of all time.

During the regular season, the 24-year-old averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from deep.

He stepped up in a big way when James was sidelined with an injury during February and March and is now lighting it up alongside James in the postseason. Over the past 10 playoff games, he has scored 14.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists, helping the Lakers get within a win of the Western Conference Finals.

Spotrac reports that Reaves will become a restricted free agent after the postseason with a qualifying offer worth $2.2 million. However, he’s expected to receive an even more lucrative deal in free agency. In March, Shams Charania reported that Reaves was “increasingly looking like his marketplace” for a four-year, $50 million deal.

“Other teams could offer him a poison-pill offer sheet … but the Lakers can match that since he is a restricted free agent,” Charania said.

In April, Charania reported that the Lakers would have difficulty matching a $60- to $70-million contract offer for Reaves this summer. They can only offer him $41 million over four years.

In March, Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported that Reaves and the Lakers were interested in extending his contract. The shooting guard later told Charnia that he wanted to spend his entire career with the team.

A laker is my dream, Reaves said. “Obviously, they gave me the first chance.” I was a huge Laker fan growing up, a big Kobe [Bryant] fan, so honestly, to be able to play for the Lakers organization is special, and I want to be a Laker, so hopefully we can accomplish this and I can stay there for my entire career.”

The Lakers should do everything in their power to keep Reaves in L.A. for 2023-24 and beyond, considering his passion for the Purple and Gold.

Reaves will also continue to learn from James if the franchise retains him, which will only benefit his career.


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