Austin Reaves is confident.
Despite being a skinny, country boy from Arkansas, he recently exuded that confidence in an interview with Stadium’s Shams Charania, where he didn’t shy away from the idea of trying to be a starter for this upcoming 2022-23 Lakers squad.
Lakers' Austin Reaves sits down with @Stadium: "I definitely don't pass the eye test and I'm not the most athletic in the world, but I've figured it out so far." On goal of starting role in 2022-23, LeBron and Kobe, believing he's the best golfer in the NBA, and more. pic.twitter.com/KplZQt7WYS— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 13, 2022
When Charania brought up the idea of starting, Reaves could have gone even farther and stated that he would, in fact, be a starter under Darvin Ham’s first lineup ever. Instead, he noted that that’s “always a goal”. Still — even if the confidence was dialed back — it shows he believes in himself.
He later showed confidence in a much more exuberant way, saying he believes in his heart of hearts that he is better than Stephen Curry.
Yes, that’s right. Reaves thinks he’s better than Curry at “the beautiful game”. The game of golf, that is.
Towards the end of the interview — that you can watch in full above — Charania asked Reaves about his hobby of golf as well as the idea of Reaves having a case for being the best golfer in the NBA. Reaves talked about how much he had been playing, how much he liked the game, as well as how he felt it demanded a level of mental focus that he thinks can easily translate to basketball as well as other sports.
Charania wouldn’t let the case of “the best golfer in the NBA” go unanswered, asking the following when Reaves was done talking:
Charania: “I think the one guy that we’ve seen play at pro-ams and different events, and the guy that everyone dubs as “The best golfer in the league,” is probably Steph Curry. Is that a guy you feel confident that you could beat in a match?”
Reaves: “I do. Like I said, I’m very confident in my golf game, especially when I’m playing almost every day. But yeah, I’ll never shy away from a golf match.”
Curry is, indeed, very good at golf. He’s turned it into even more than just your standard hobby, participating in many charity tournaments in the offseason, the most notable of which is the Workday Charity Classic that he started himself. This summer, he ran the third annual Classic, raising money for his “Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation.”
But despite all of this golfing Curry does at publicized events, Reaves still thinks he’s better (at golf) than the four-time champion (of basketball). Sadly, we don’t have any statistics online we can use to compare the two in the game of golf.
Or do we?
The Athletic’s Jovan Buha provided some more color to Charania’s interview after the fact, pointing out a fact about Reaves’ game that he learned in his own interview with the Laker guard.
This was a fun interview on Reaves’ role for next season, playing with LeBron, and why he’s probably the best golfer in the league. It didn’t make my feature on him from this offseason, but he has a golf handicap of 2, which would place him in the top 5% or so of golfers. https://t.co/QgGY2SnpaD— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) September 13, 2022
Now, I’m not a golfer. So I’m not going to pretend I know what a “handicap” is. But from an extremely lazy and short amount of research, I have found out that the lower the handicap, the better.
So how does Reaves’ handicap of 2 compare to Curry's? After some more lazy research, I’ve found conflicting reports over the years on what Curry’s handicap is. In this 2015 Facebook post, it stated he had a 1.2 handicap (apparently they can do decimals). In this article from 2019, it indicated Curry was a +0.1 handicap at the time although at his best he was +1.5. Golfers reading this probably hate me, but apparently, a +1.5 is even better than a 1.5. Anyways...
Did Buha forget a “+” at the beginning of that 2? Probably not. Because of that, it would seem that Curry may be a better golfer than Reaves. But it’s really, really close.
The two should have a little match before the season starts to finally settle this debate.
The loser has to play with Russell Westbrook this season.