Devin Booker Reflects on Inspiring Meeting with Kobe Bryant
Highlights: Devin Booker scores 28 points vs. Lakers
The moment occurred six months ago, but the lessons are still fresh in Devin Booker’s mind.
Back in March, the Suns star rookie played in his first and only game against one of his childhood idols, Kobe Bryant.
Booker dropped 28 points and added seven assists that night, but his best memories came postgame. The teenager spoke with the future Hall of Famer for a good 15 minutes in the locker room. Afterwards, Bryant gifted a signed pair of his shoes to Booker with the captain, “Be Legendary.”
Speaking to Inside Hoops earlier this summer, Booker reiterated just how much the interaction meant to him.
“He inspired me. He changed the game of basketball. Changed the city of Los Angeles,” Booker said. “Just incredible. The way he went out and got love on every road trip he went on. If you wouldn't want to go out like that, I don't know why you're playing the game.
“So that always sticks in my head while I'm playing. When I'm done, I want to be remembered as someone like Kobe Bryant.”
“The Black Mamba” didn’t just praise Booker behind closed doors. To the media, Bryant also voiced how impressed he was with the young Suns guard.
“I think he's fantastic," Bryant said at the time. "I think he has the right attitude. He has the right competitive spirit. I think his footwork is extremely sound. His fundamentals are extremely sound.
“Now it's just about him figuring out exactly what his game is and then he can go to that every single night and then make counters off of it. But he has the skills."
Booker will begin his second NBA season in just over a month. Hoping to build on the All-Rookie campaign he put together a year ago, the guard thinks he’ll be a wiser player on the court in Year 2.
“I learned so many things. The attention to detail that they watch in the NBA is incredible,” Booker said. “A bunch of little things that you used to be able to get away with in college, you don't get away with anymore. You have to pay attention to every single little thing you do, and that's just what I learned.”