Warriors coach Steve Kerr outlawed Lakers’ trademark ‘freeze’ celebration during Team USA FIBA matchups

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read

Steve Kerr saw all that he wanted of the Los Angeles Lakers’ “freeze” celebration during the 2023 NBA Playoffs, so he made sure to warn Austin Reaves that it was not welcome while he was coaching him for Team USA at the FIBA World Cup this summer.

“Yeah, we talked about it,” Reaves said. “The celebration that Dennis [Schroder] brought to the team, the freeze. He told me, he was like, ‘You cannot do that at the USA.’ He was like, ‘I seen it too many times in the playoffs, and I’m sick of seein’ it.'”

Reaves and the Lakers eliminated Kerr’s Golden State Warriors in the second round to prevent them from repeating as NBA champions. The ban on the freeze came up again Friday with the Lakers facing the Warriors in a preseason game.

“We talked about the series and how the series went,” Reaves said. “Obviously, he’s a great basketball mind, so I wanted to pick his brain on things he seen in the series that we did good, that we didn’t do good. I had to kindly remind him that we won a couple times.”

Perhaps Kerr should have allowed the celebration at the international competition. Despite being one of the pre-tournament favorites, the United States finished fourth, losing in the semifinals to Germany and then the third-place game to Canada.

Schroder helped the German team win the gold medal with a championship-game victory over Serbia. It was the guard who brought the celebration to the Lakers, marking any big 3-pointer that was made by the team. It was used often in their late-season rally into the play-in round and through the playoffs.

Schroder signed with the Toronto Raptors as a free agent this offseason, so it will be interesting to see if the Lakers maintain the tradition this season. They are expected to have a lot to celebrate as one of the top teams in the Western Conference and contenders for the NBA title.

Reaves is expected to be one of their most important players after re-signing as a free agent and standing out for Team USA during the tournament under Kerr and his staff. The 25-year-old is considered to be on the verge of a breakout season after averaging 13.0 points per game in his second NBA season.

He increased that output to 16.9 points per game in 16 playoff contests, building off the trust he earned from LeBron James during the season.

The Lakers fell short in getting swept by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets in the 2023 Western Conference Finals, and the University of Oklahoma product recently acknowledged the chirping done by the Nuggets after winning their first title.

It should make for an interesting environment when the Lakers and Nuggets open their 2023-24 NBA seasons at Denver on Oct. 24.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.