Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves asked fans to give him a new nickname, and Twitter obliged, going crazy with idea but one clearly standing above the rest.
Reaves, 24, no longer wants to be known as “AR-15” or “Hillbilly Kobe,” the latter given to him during his college days.
“AR-15” is his initials with the jersey number he wears on the Lakers but it’s also an semi-automatic assault rifle that has recently been used in school shootings.
University of Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, who also wears No. 15 on his uniform, dropped the AR-15 nickname for that same reason earlier this week.
While speaking with ESPN, Reaves echoed Richardson’s sentiments.
“I don’t condone any gun violence that happens around our country,” Reaves said. “But you can’t really control what [nickname] people give you. I mean, I didn’t come out and say my name was that.
“There’s been others, like the ‘Hillbilly Kobe,’ that probably aren’t the best thing in the situation that’s going on, with Kobe’s passing.”
Why does Austin Reaves wear No. 15?
Reaves wore No. 12 in college but Kendrick Nunn had already claimed it when he got to the Lakers.
After trying to use No. 31 in Summer League, Reaves opted for No. 15 to start the season, simply because he didn’t feel right otherwise.
“I just didn’t really like how it [No. 31] looked on me,” Reaves said. “Fifteen is very similar to 12. The five and the two are just flipped.”
No. 31 is the same number his brother wears and what his mother sported on the basketball court.
Regarding his new nickname, Reaves said he’s open to idea, but the best one so far was shared by Ice Cube‘s son O’Shea Jackson Jr., a die-hard Lakers fan.
Jackson suggests “Stone Cold Reaves Austin” as the new nickname for the second-year NBA player.