Lakers guard Austin Reeves was recently interviewed on a podcast.
When asked at what point he realized he had gained LeBron James’ trust, Reeves said, “We haven’t had many real conversations off the court. I knew from day one that we resonated on an intellectual level, that we just saw the game differently than everybody else.
“But what struck me the most – in the playoffs, Game 1 against the Grizzlies – was that we had to battle until the fourth quarter. I struggled in the first half, I think my halftime stats were 2-of-7 from the field, and then found my form in the fourth quarter. I remember, I think I made two in a row, and somebody – I think it was Bain probably made a three from the right wing, and then the ball popped out, and I don’t know if Dlo (D’Angelo Russell) grabbed the rebound or whoever or Vando (Vanderbilt) grabbed the rebound. But I was on the left side and I just ran forward. They threw the ball to LeBron, and I think right before I made the three, I was running down the court, and I heard LeBron yell at me, ‘AR, come back!’ And then he threw me the ball. I said, ‘Oh, shit-‘
“I have the greatest player, you know, in my opinion, he’s the greatest player that ever lived, and I don’t want to be in this moment where he’s accommodating me, but he gives me the ball and it’s like, ‘Okay, you’ve got some good form. Go do something.’
“Because he knows me, I don’t care if I’m going to score by myself or if I can make the ball for somebody else. He knows I just want to win. But when that happened, obviously, in my head, the ball probably should have been passed somewhere else. But throughout the whole thing, I was just sitting there thinking, ‘I can’t mess up – I’m going to do something good.’ I don’t care if it’s a bad throw, whatever. We got a good shot, no matter what. But something good always happens. I can’t miss, I can’t make bad shots.’ But I think I ran over and made the three, and after that, same thing, he passed the ball back to me.
“From that moment on, I could tell he trusted me even more than I knew at the time.”