Austin Reaves has come a long way from a tiny Arkansas town to Lakers 'MVP!'

Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

The moment, Austin Reaves has always felt, can wait. The game comes first, the next play the priority.

Reflection is for later.

It's a mindset that's allowed none of this to ever feel too big, that it's always been possible for someone from a tiny farm town to somehow be peers with the best basketball players in the world.

Like in his unofficial audition with the Lakers during a Las Vegas minicamp, Reaves didn't stop when he found himself guarding Anthony Davis in the post during the team's first pickup game.

"In my head, it's like, 'Kid, you're trying to guard me? You need to switch. You serious?'" Davis told The Los Angeles Times. "I get the ball, I back him down and he steals it from me."

But this one, Sunday night in Los Angeles, it needed to be acknowledged.


As Reaves led the Lakers through the fourth quarter of a must-win game against the Orlando Magic, he flipped the ball into the hoop after drawing a foul. As he flexed and the crowd chanted "M-V-P," he looked into the stands to find his best friends for more than 20 years, Trent Swaim and Keaton Wheeler, cheering in the sea of Lakers fans.

"It's almost too good to be true," Reaves told The Times.

Sunday, he scored a career-high 35 points in the Lakers' 111-105 win against Orlando, the undrafted guard from a tiny Arkansas town the center of attention in Los Angeles with the friends he cares about most celebrating with him.

"That's dope as hell," Davis said.


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