Devin Booker electrified the basketball world yesterday afternoon with his first career triple-double in Game One of the Western Conference Finals.
His 40-point triple-double in Chris Paul’s absence willed the Phoenix Suns to a 120-114 victory. His performance of course drew national attention and high praise, but the former ‘Cat may have gotten the highest praise imaginable from ESPN megastar Stephen A. Smith.
This morning on First Take Smith took to the national audience to tell the world: Devin Booker is the next Kobe Bryant.
— ESPN (@espn) June 21, 2021
“I’m saying it on national television, Devin Booker is the next Kobe Bryant,” Smith proclaimed. “It is official. His first playoff performance and the brother is the number one option. Averaging 28, dropped 40 in a triple-double in the first game of the conference finals. The way he plays, he’s an assassin.”
Laker legend Magic Johnson was in agreement as well.
Booker’s idolization of the late legend is well documented, as well. In Booker’s only matchup with Bryant he went right at the black mamba with his signature move, something Kobe admitted admiring in the postgame interview.
After the game, Bryant gifted Booker with a pair of shoes saying “be legendary”. Now, Booker writes the same mantra on his shoes before every game and playing like his childhood idol.