For an ultimate competitor like Austin Reaves, basketball is simply about winning or losing.
So, when he was asked by a reporter to grade Team USA’s campaign in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, the 25-year-old Reaves refused to give an answer.
“We lost so badly. I don’t know what you want from me,” said a frustrated Reaves following the Americans’ 127-118 loss to Canada in the bronze medal match on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“If we don’t win, this is basically a failure.
“You know, going to every game, if you don’t win, it doesn’t matter if you have 50. It’s a loss. That’s all of it for me. Winning and losing are all that matter,” said the Los Angeles Lakers guard.
Team USA started the tournament as they were supposed to, sweeping their first three games in the group stage before splitting their matchups in the Round of 16, where they lost their final game to Lithuania.
The Americans managed to bounce back in the quarterfinals, dominating Italy to qualify for the semifinals. Unfortunately, that proved to be the end of Team USA’s title hopes as they lost to Germany in the Final Four, relegating them to the battle for bronze.
The team actually had the chance to secure the bronze after Mikal Bridges sent the game to overtime, but the Canadians proved to be too much in the end, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dillon Brooks taking over in the extra time.
For Reaves, the only silver lining that he can take from this run is the friendships that he managed to forge with his fellow NBA stars and the entire USA Basketball organization.
“Not a failure; we’ve grown together. It’s a bunch of unbelievable guys, coaching staff, you know. Just everybody involved in all of this is amazing,” said Reaves, who finished with 23 points and five rebounds.
“I wouldn’t give up any of them for anything, but as far as a competitor who wanted to win, it’s win or nothing. That’s how I’ve always perceived it.”