As per usual, Mirin Fader of The Ringer wrote an incredible profile of someone whose story extends well beyond basketball. Her subject this time was undrafted rookie Austin Reaves and, because she’s the best, she agreed to stop by “The Lakers Lounge” with Harrison and I this week to discuss the writing process, Reaves, and, most importantly, The Grandmamba.
(Note: We recorded this episode before we had learned of Russell Westbrook and Avery Bradley becoming the latest Lakers to enter the NBA’s health and safety protocols, or the Isaiah Thomas signing. For reaction to that, tune into tonight’s Lakers Lowdown.)
We start with with what has become one of the most under-appreciated trends in all of sports: The Fader Bump. First, she wrote an entire book about Giannis Antetokounmpo, then and he won Finals MVP. Then, she wrote this Reaves profile, and he knocked down a game-winner on national television the same day. I tried to ask her to profile me, but unfortunately I’m not interesting enough.
From there, we jumped into what I find absolutely astonishing about Reaves: That he has some very clear areas where he was almost undoubtedly improve because of how he’s gotten to this point. Mirin mentions in the piece that weightlifting and private training are both relatively new things for Reaves, which is pretty wild the more you think about it.
Another fun part of Mirin’s article were all the anecdotes about the amount of respect the hall of fame talent so widely dispersed across the roster has for Reaves because of the way he plays the game. Add to this how hilarious they find it that opposing teams are still going out of their way to challenge Reaves defensively — and his reaction to their faith in him — and honestly this is all too delightful.
We finish with a rapid fire segment that touched on The Fader Bump, how she selects her subjects, and that picture of a cow in snow.
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And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.