Austin Reaves enjoyed a breakout season in 2022-23, becoming the Lakers third-best player during their run to the conference finals, earning a new 4-year, $54 million deal in free agency to stay in L.A. in the process.
Reaves had always dreamed of being a member of the Lakers because of Kobe Bryant, and his anti-LeBron tweets from when he was a young Kobe fan have been forgiven by his legendary teammate. Reaves even orchestrated a Draft night move to avoid being picked by the Pistons, preferring to sign with the Lakers as an undrafted free agent. In his breakout year, Reaves has become a fan-favorite for many Lakers fans, including one in particular who has family ties to the organization.
Kobe Bryant’s nephew is apparently a huge Reaves fan, and when his birthday rolled around in the playoffs, his mother, Shaya Bryant, reached out to Matt Barnes to see if he had a way to get in touch with Austin. On the latest All The Smoke podcast, Barnes thanked Reaves for being willing to send a video birthday message despite it being during the postseason, and showed the video of Kobe’s nephew breaking down in tears seeing his favorite player sent him a personal note.
Austin Reaves is such a real one for this
— SHOWTIME Basketball (@shobasketball) July 20, 2023
It’s a very cool moment and shows that Reaves obviously understands what it can mean to a young fan to take a little time out to send a video message like that. Clearly it meant a ton to Kobe’s nephew, and Barnes wanted to relay the message from Shaya that it was immensely appreciated.