Devin Booker: 'I should never be compared to Kobe Bryant' | The Jump


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Suns’ Devin Booker Says He ‘Should Never Be Compared’ to Lakers Legend Kobe Bryant

Bleacher Report 19 July, 2021 - 08:51pm

Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker looked up to Kobe Bryant, but he doesn't want to put himself in the same conversation as the Los Angeles Lakers legend.

During ESPN's The Jump on Monday, Richard Jefferson asked Booker about a comparison to Bryant, to which the two-time All-Star said he "should never be compared to Kobe Bryant."

"I should never be compared to Kobe Bryant." <br><br>—Devin Booker <a href=""></a>

Toward the end of his career and into retirement, Bryant worked with players throughout the league to impart his wisdom and offer guidance. 

Booker was only a rookie during the 2015-16 season when he received an autographed pair of sneakers from the Hall of Famer that included a message to "be legendary."

Kobe signed shoes for Devin Booker after game, says “Be Legendary” 🐍👟<a href=""></a> <a href=""></a>

"The biggest thing for me was earning his respect," Booker told reporters of Bryant after Bryant's death in January 2020. "To even be the guy in the room after we play them that he wanted to talk to or share advice with. Then our relationship had grown from there. Just figuring out what type of person he was outside of the 'Mamba Mentality.' How he raised his daughters and how much of a family man he was something that was just incredible."

The 24-year-old has been marvelous during Phoenix's run to the NBA Finals, averaging 27.7 points on 45.1 percent shooting through 21 playoff games.

The Suns closed out the Lakers in the first round thanks in large part to a 47-point effort from Booker in Game 6. He said after the game he felt Bryant's presence inside Staples Center while he was shredding Los Angeles' defense:

Booker has always been considered a dynamic scorer, but one question was how much his production translated into wins for the Suns. His famous 70-point game in March 2017 came in a 10-point loss to the Boston Celtics. He dropped 59 on the Utah Jazz in March 2019, but Phoenix still lost by 33.

This postseason is addressing that general skepticism head on, and now the conversation has shifted to how the Suns might be set up to contend for years to come.

But putting Booker alongside Bryant is far too early at this point in his career, regardless of their connection. The latter was an 18-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion, a resume that will be difficult to match.

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NBA Finals: Suns' Devin Booker says he 'should never be compared to Kobe Bryant'

CBS Sports 19 July, 2021 - 07:10pm

Devin Booker needed six years to reach the NBA Finals stage that Kobe Bryant once dominated, but he's made the most of his opportunity as the Phoenix Suns battle the Milwaukee Bucks. The Suns may trail in the series 3-2, but that's certainly not Booker's fault. Phoenix's star shooting guard has scored 40 points in back-to-back games in the Finals, a feat that Bryant himself never achieved, and he's done so using many of the same moves in isolation that made Bryant a superstar. 

The comparison is a fairly obvious one. Aside from their stylistic similarities, the two shared a relationship later in Bryant's career and life. Booker was drafted before Bryant's final NBA season, and when Booker asked Bryant for advice, Bryant told him to "be legendary." Booker now wears those words on his shoes during games, but that doesn't mean he approves of the comparison. When Richard Jefferson asked Booker about his feelings on being compared to Bryant, he made it clear that he doesn't feel as though he is up that level yet. 

"I haven't really thought about it much," Booker said. "I know it's something that everybody is gonna ask right now, and I didn't make that comparison myself. I just leave it at what he's done for me as a mentor and the advice that he's left me with, so I try to take bits and pieces of his mentality and approach, but I should never be compared to Kobe Bryant."

Bryant himself likely wouldn't condone the comparison under the circumstances either. Success or failure to him was predicated on winning or losing, so no matter how well an individual player played, winning the series and the championship would still be a necessity for him. 

Even if Booker does come up short, he and several of the other players Bryant once mentored have shined this postseason. Jayson Tatum scored 50 in a first-round game against the Brooklyn Nets. Trae Young came within two wins of the NBA Finals. And now, Booker is two wins away from the championship and just had one of the best back-to-back stretches in Finals history. Bryant may be gone, but his impact on the league is still being felt to this day.

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Suns' Devin Booker: 'I should never be compared to Kobe Bryant'

Arizona Sports 19 July, 2021 - 06:55pm

Devin Booker made it clear that he does not want to be compared to the late great Kobe Bryant.

“I haven’t really thought about it much,” Booker told ESPN The Jump’s Richard Jefferson. “I know it’s something everyone has going on right now. You know I did not make that comparison myself.

“I just leave it at what he has done for me as a mentor and the advice he has left me with. I try and take bits and pieces of his mentality and approach, but I should never be compared to Kobe Bryant.”

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith made the same comparison after Game 1 against the Clippers and did not skate around the topic.

“Devin Booker is the next Kobe Bryant. I’m saying it on national television, Devin Booker is the next Kobe Bryant,” Smith said.

“Be legendary” is a phrase that Bryant bestowed to a young Booker on a pair of shoes back in 2016 after a showdown against the Los Angeles Lakers.

After the passing of Bryant, Booker had the term tattooed onto his forearm to commemorate and take a piece of Bryant with him.

As his career has taken off, the Suns guard has drawn more and more comparisons to the Black Mamba, as Booker’s mid-range jumper and scoring ability has an uncanny similarity to Bryant, a skill that is fading in todays NBA.

Kobe Bryant signed shoes for Devin Booker back in 2016 and told him to ‘Be Legendary’

Today, Devin Booker reveals a new ‘Be Legendary’ tattoo 🙌

— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) March 4, 2020

Lakers' Jared Dudley Goes Off On True Reason Suns' Devin Booker Is So Good

ClutchPoints 19 July, 2021 - 05:30pm

Devin Booker has taken his game up more than a few levels since he and Jared Dudley were teammates with the Phoenix Suns. Not surprisingly, the outspoken Los Angeles Lakers free-agent-to-be has a host of theories as to what’s enabled Booker to become an NBA superstar.

During an appearance on J.J. Redick’s “The Old Man and the Three” podcast on Monday, Dudley listed a series of contributing factors to Booker’s improvement, including his physical transformation, his relationship with Kendall Jenner, and his improved passing.

“Booker always was super-talented: Footwork-wise, work ethic, had it all in him, had the swagger,” Dudley said. “He became such a better student of the game, of studying film. If you look at his body now, he now finally has cuts in his body, got serious with his nutrition … In a way, I think him having a girlfriend has helped him. Helped him stay more focused, less out in the nightlife.

“It was his passing ability that was poor,” Dudley added. “He could shoot the ball. The whole big viral video of doubling him during summertime, you remember when Joakim Noah doubled? … Nah, like, you’re going to be doubled … For him to become a better passer and getting his first triple-double…I knew he was going to be an All-Star player, but I just think he took the next step with his body. He’s in phenomenal, phenomenal shape. He’s cut up. The first thing I saw was, looking at his face, I could see his cheekbones. He’s been with the Kardashians, I didn’t know if he had surgery or he lost some weight.”

Booker averaged 3.5 assists per 36 minutes during the two seasons (2016-17) he played with Dudley. His dimes were down this season due to the addition of Chris Paul, but he increased his assists per 36 to 7.0 and 6.5 in 2018-9 and 2019-20, respectively.

Here’s @JaredDudley619 on BOOK. One of the best teammates around. @jj_redick @talter

— TheOldMan&TheThree (@OldManAndThree) July 19, 2021

Due to his midrange prowess and the work ethic that Dudley is alluding to, Booker’s game has been frequently compared to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, especially during the Suns’ run to the NBA Finals. However, Booker — a mentee of Kobe’s — rejected that notion during a spot on ESPN’s “The Jump.”

“I know it’s something that everybody has going on right now. I didn’t make that comparison myself. I’ll just leave it at what he’s done for me as a mentor and the advice that he’s left me with. I try to take bits and pieces of his mentality and approach. But I should never be compared to Kobe Bryant.”

"I should never be compared to Kobe Bryant."

—Devin Booker

— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 19, 2021

In the same chat with Redick, Dudley broke down his singular value to the Lakers locker room, which, in his words, manifests in practice, the film room, and at the gambling table (“camaraderie”).

a crucial presence in the Lakers film room and at the gambling table, per Jared Dudley

— michael corvo (@_michaelcorvo_) July 19, 2021

Dudley, 36, is one of the 10 players who the Lakers have to decide on re-signing. Considering his lack of playing time and the Lakers’ tight cap situation, they have to determine whether Dudley’s locker room contributions are worthy of an active roster spot (a la Udonis Haslem). The Lakers could retain Dudley in a non-player role — perhaps as a special assistant coach or front office consultant.

Dudley has developed tight relationships with LeBron James and Anthony Davis during his tenure in Los Angeles. When asked at exit interviews whether he planned to return to the Lakers, Dudley had a confident outlook: “1,000 percent.”

"1,000%. They need me like I need them. Come on, man."

Jared Dudley when asked if he'll be back and if the Lakers will have him.

(via @_michaelcorvo_)

— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 4, 2021

Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns will have an opportunity to force Game 7 on Tuesday in Milwaukee.

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Devin Booker: 'I should never be compared to Kobe Bryant'

Lakers Daily 19 July, 2021 - 04:38pm

Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker offered a humble but blunt opinion when asked about recent comparisons of his play to that of the late Kobe Bryant.

Booker spoke with NBA analyst Richard Jefferson on ESPN’s “The Jump” about his strong performance in the 2021 NBA Finals but dismissed the idea that he was in the same category as the legendary Los Angeles Lakers guard.

"I should never be compared to Kobe Bryant."

—Devin Booker

— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 19, 2021

“Yeah, I haven’t really thought about it much,” Booker said. “I know it’s something that everybody has going on right now. I didn’t make that comparison myself, and I just leave it at what he’s done for me as a mentor and the advice that he’s left me with. So I try to take bits and pieces of his mentality and his approach, but I should never be compared to Kobe Bryant.”

In four of the first five games of this year’s finals, Booker has been a main source of offense for the Suns and has connected for 42 and 40 points in the last two contests.

During his memorable career, Bryant delivered in the clutch on countless occasions, which was just one aspect of his 20 years in a Lakers uniform.

Booker is currently in his sixth season with the Suns and will need to maintain his current torrid pace if the Suns are to bounce back from their current 3-2 deficit. Helping the Suns win two more games this season could make Booker more amenable to being mentioned alongside Bryant in the future.

Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.

While the 2021 NBA Finals took place on the court on Saturday night, LeBron James’ agent Rich Paul and...

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Devin Booker Sounds Off On Kobe Bryant Comparisons

ClutchPoints 19 July, 2021 - 04:25pm

Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker is often compared to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant because of his cold-blooded ability to go get buckets from anywhere on the court, and especially from the mid-range area. While Booker is an assassin out there, the Suns shooting guard doesn’t actually want to be compared to the late superstar.

Booker said this on ESPN ahead of Tuesday’s Game 6 of the NBA Finals:

"I should never be compared to Kobe Bryant."

—Devin Booker

— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 19, 2021

While Devin Booker has modeled some of his game after Kobe Bryant, he knows he has to do a whole lot more in his career to truly be comparable to the Lakers legend. Bryant won five championships in his illustrious NBA career, while Booker is going for his first title in his first playoff appearance.

Booker has certainly gotten buckets like Bryant in the last two games, going for 42 points in Game 4 and 40 points in Game 5. Unfortunately, these monster performances were all for naught in two Suns losses, putting Phoenix on the brink of elimination.

The Suns star has received some criticism for resorting to hero ball too much, which is also something Kobe took some heat for in his career. Booker doesn’t have a single assist in the fourth quarter in the NBA Finals, so he could try to do a better job looking for his teammates in crunch time and in general.

Of course, it’s hard to blame Devin Booker too much given how efficient he was with his shooting the last two games. Book did get ripped by Jrue Holiday on that crucial play late, but he also hit so many big shots to help keep Phoenix in it.

Booker will try to bring his Mamba Mentality into Game 6 to keep the Suns alive for a Game 7.

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