Is Devin Booker the next Kobe Bryant? No matter what’s being said in the media or what the numbers show, the former Kentucky guard says he doesn’t want to hear any comparisons.
He tries to share a similar mentality – Bryant called it the Mamba Mentality – and approach to the game, but that’s where the comparisons should stop.
“I haven’t really thought about it much,” the Suns guard said on ESPN’s The Jump leading up to Phoenix’s Game 6 matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals. “I know it’s something everybody is gonna ask 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 he’s left me with.
“I try to take bits and pieces of his mentality and his approach, but I should never be compared to Kobe Bryant.”
“I should never be compared to Kobe Bryant.”
—Devin Booker pic.twitter.com/hcXFSPLScm
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 19, 2021
The response comes after ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith went out of his way to compare the former UK sharpshooter to the NBA legend on First Take back in June.
“I want to say this for the record with Magic Johnson sitting right here in studio: I told you Donovan Mitchell is (Dwyane) Wade 2.0. Devin Booker is the next Kobe Bryant,” he said. “I’m saying it on national television: Devin Booker is the next Kobe Bryant. It is official.”
“Yep,” Johnson, a Los Angeles Lakers legend in his own right, quickly responded. “Yep. Yep.”
In his sixth NBA season, Booker is averaging 25.6 points on 48.4% shooting and 34% from three to go with 4.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds per contest, earning his second consecutive All-Star selection in 2021.
Back on March 24, 2017, the former Wildcat became the youngest player in NBA history to score over 60 points in a game, finishing with 70 against the Boston Celtics. It was just the tenth time in league history a player has scored 70 points in a game, joining only Wilt Chamberlain, David Thompson, Elgin Baylor, and yes, Kobe Bryant to reach that mark. And then in March 2019, Booker became the youngest player in NBA history to record back-to-back 50-point games.
More recently, the Suns star became just the seventh player in league history to record back-to-back 40-point games in the NBA Finals, joining only Jerry West, Rick Barry, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Booker is a true superstar and continues to shatter records and join exclusive lists limited to all-time greats.
But a comparison to Kobe? He’s not ready to hear it.