MANILA, Philippines – After leading the Phoenix Suns to a 112-94 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday, January 14 (Saturday, January 15, Manila time), All-Star guard Devin Booker sounded off on his growing comparisons to the late, great NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
Booker, who exploded for 35 points in the victory, sees the comparisons to Bryant as a “problem” and would rather not have his name attached to the Black Mamba and the Mamba Mentality mindset.
“I always have enjoyed social media. I check it daily. When they are saying good things about me, I don’t get too high or I don’t get too low,” said Booker.
“The only problem I have is people still comparing me to Kobe Bryant when I told them in the playoffs to stop bringing up Mamba Mentality.”
This comes after Booker became a hot topic on social media following his violent reaction to a Toronto Raptors mascot who was seen distracting him while he was shooting from the free throw line.
Fans then quickly compared Booker to Bryant, saying the latter would never complain about a mascot and ask a referee to send a mascot out of his sight.
“I am inspired by Kobe Bryant and Mamba Mentality, but I am not Kobe Bryant,” he emphasized.
The 25-year-old Booker, who led the Suns to an NBA Finals appearance last season, is also known for his mentor-mentee relationship with the Hall of Famer Bryant.
In March 2016, prior to Bryant’s final game, Booker received a pair of signed Nike Kobe 11 sneakers from the Los Angeles Lakers superstar with the phrase “Be Legendary” written on it.
Since Bryant’s untimely death in 2020, Booker has been rocking Bryant’s signature Nike sneakers during games and has been channeling his inner Mamba Mentality, as seen in his historic playoff run in 2021, where he averaged 27.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.5 assists.
This season, Booker averages 23.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.4 assists for the Suns, who are sitting at the top of the league standings with an impressive 32-9 record. – Rappler.com