LeBron’s Apprentice Speaks Out: Austin Reaves Shares Transformative Lessons

Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves pinpoints what he’s learned most from LeBron James during their time as teammates.

Lakers' Austin Reaves gets 100% real on what he's learned from LeBron James

Austin Reaves is still enjoying the pleasure of emerging into NBA stardom alongside one of the greatest players ever. In the midst of his third season playing alongside LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers guard admits he’s still learning from his legendary teammate.

Asked by JJ Redick on The Old Man and the Three for his takeaways from being around James on a daily basis since he entered the league in 2021-22, Reaves homed in on how diligently the four-time NBA Finals MVP works on his game and takes care of his body.

“The main one is obviously just being a pro,” Reaves said. “First in the gym, last to leave, his body of work—literally, on his body—not many people can play this long. Honestly, nobody’s done it at this high a level. He basically lays out the blueprint for you, you just gotta pay attention and apply that to yourself.”

Austin Reaves is following LeBron James’ lead

Austin Reaves, LeBron James, Lakers, NBA Playoffs

James’ fitness and basketball training regimen has been stuff of lore for over a decade. You don’t become the all-time NBA leader in points scored and minutes played while remaining one of the game’s best players into your late 30s without continuous and meticulous work on your craft.

But James’ otherworldly athletic talent and physical traits have always been the bedrocks of his success, only marginally declining over the past few years as his 39th birthday approaches on December 30th. It’s his relentless commitment to taking care of his body that his most rubbed off on Reaves, who’s never shy to ask James questions about what it takes to reach The King’s rarified air—especially important for an under-recruited player who didn’t have access to the trainers many of his peers did growing up.

Austin Reaves Shares When He Believes He Fully Gained LeBron James's Trust  - Sports Illustrated

“I was just like, ‘So, your day is treatment?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, pretty much.’ I was like, ‘Alright, cool.’ There’s the blueprint,” Reaves recalled of a recent conversation with James. “He’s a professional and takes care of himself. Where I come from I never had a basketball trainer, I never had a trainer, never had anything. I did everything myself, and I didn’t know how important recovery was. Like nobody ever taught me that stuff; like all this stuff was kinda new for me.

“Anything that he says that he does, s***, why not try it?” Reaves continued.

That approach is certainly working out for the former undrafted Oklahoma alum so far. Reaves signed a four-year, $54 million deal with the Lakers last summer after his breakout sophomore season, and has become the frontrunner for Sixth Man of the Year in 2023-24 after being moved to the bench in early November. James and Anthony Davis are Los Angeles’ best players, but Reaves is his team’s undisputed and well-deserved third wheel.

Still just 25, Austin Reaves hasn’t quite reached his NBA peak. Don’t be surprised if it’s higher than you think should he keep following the lead being set by James.

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