Austin Reaves is a man of many talents. His basketball resume speaks for itself, and he’s rumored to be a scratch golfer.
What Reaves isn’t is much of a talker.
He says he didn’t care for his college recruitment, because it meant talking with a lot of new people, and his second recruitment after he entered the transfer portal was even worse. He enjoyed the restrictions of his covid year in college because he could chill at home and didn’t have to go out and deal with people. The summer he declared for the draft was exhausting with 18 workouts and all the meet-and-greets with agencies that entailed.
Reaves even expressed some envy of a team like Golden State, not because of their championship pedigree, but because the players know each other well enough that they don’t have to talk on the court.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that trash-talking isn’t exactly Reaves’ specialty. In the biggest moment of his NBA career to date, a game-winning 3-pointer against Dallas that ended up being the highlight of the Lakers’ season, Reaves still couldn’t muster up a good line.
As he told teammate Cole Swider on his eponymous podcast, before the play unfolded, one of the Mavericks attempted to psych out Reaves:
Reaves: Someone on their bench behind me was like, you don’t want it. I literally turned around and was like, ‘Look, I’m probably not gonna touch it, but if I do, it’s game.’
Swider (laughing): You said that?
Reaves: I was like if I do, it’s over. It’s game. And literally, I don’t ever really get caught up in the moment, like I don't know, I never get nervous really. Other than golf, I get nervous in golf. But basketball-wise, never get nervous, and literally when the pass was coming to me, I was like, ‘oh shit, I can't miss this now. I just told him I wasn't gonna touch it, but if I did, it was over.’
So not only was Reaves’ attempt at trash talk an acknowledgement that he wasn’t likely to be the hero, but in doing so, he got himself nervous. It’s a perfect summation of the humility of the Lakers sophomore to downplay the moment, but also the talent and quiet swagger that got him to the league.
Obviously, the three went in, and it’s a shot that Reaves and Lakers fans will revel in for a long time. Maybe the next time Reaves has a killer highlight, he’ll stick to what he does best and let his play do the talking.