April 13, 2024

Austin Reaves delivered a heartfelt, must-hear message after the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA In-Season Tournament

I think it’s fair to say that we often overlook just how hard professional athletes have to struggle to get to turn their childhood dreams into a reality. We look at the fame and the fortune and the jaw-dropping skills that they possess, and it’s natural to think, “Oh man, look at how easy this is for him! What a life he’s got!” The truth is, we’re not remotely aware of all the work they put in day after day to remain at the top of their game, and we certainly don’t know how challenging the journey was just to get the point where you could call yourself a professional athlete. That’s why I love when athletes open up and speak from the heart in a way that you can tell is sincere and authentic. And that’s exactly what Austin Reaves did after he scored 28 points, helping the Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Indiana Pacers to become the first champions of the NBA In-Season Tournament.


This message is one that not only every young athlete should hear, but something that every young person who has a passion and hopes to turn that passion into a career should hear. Not everyone gets dealt a hand that allows them to see their dream of becoming a professional athlete turn into a reality, but as Reaves said, regardless of what your dream is, you should never let anyone tell you that it’s out of reach. I heard that message once before, and fortunately, I wasn’t the type of kid who was going to listen to someone tell me that my dreams couldn’t be achieved.


As a junior in high school, I started my preparations for college. I came up with my list of schools that I planned to apply to, all of which were far away from my hometown of Elba, New York which is only slightly larger than Reaves’ home town, and I went into my guidance counselor’s office to go over my plans. When he asked me what type of career I wanted to pursue, I told him I wanted to be a sports writer. He snickered and said, “I’m just telling you right now, you aren’t going to be able to make a career out of being a sports writer.” He advised that I pick something safer, or at the very least, I go to school to be a Communication major, since that would allow me to do more than just write about sports.


I’ve now spent the last five years being paid to write about sports in some form or fashion, and while I’m sure he’s long forgotten what he told me that day in his office, I still haven’t.


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