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LeBron’s Basketball Mind Leaves Poor Austin Reaves Flummoxed

Screenshot: TNT

DeMar DeRozan tells a story about a Raptors teammate who forgot the play they were trying to run against the Cavs in the 2016 playoffs, and LeBron James, their opponent, piping up to help him out. Those occasions we’re reminded of LeBron’s astonishing spatial genius—dissecting a Celtics comeback to the applause of slack-jawed reporters, perfectly describing the final seconds of an All-Star Game days after it happened—are delightful.

Austin Reaves, an undrafted rookie who grew up in Arkansas, stared speechless at the ceiling when Lakers GM Rob Pelinka offered him a contract in a Zoom meeting last fall. In a profile of Reaves from December, The Ringer’s Mirin Fader wrote that when Reaves’s agent had tried taking him to dinner recently, Reaves asked to go to Denny’s. In seventh grade, he called his grandmother to apologize for getting a technical foul in a game. Here is a video of LeBron James and Austin Reaves in conversation during Tuesday’s game against the Nets:

Reaves may have made a similar face upon discovering Los Angeles rent prices. “Back home it’s like $500 a month, a thousand if you want a nice place,” he told Fader. “Out here, it’s like, golly.”