Devin Booker channeled Kobe Bryant when scoring 47 points to beat Lakers
It wasn’t a Lakers player who exemplified Kobe Bryant’s “Mamba mentality” in Game 6 of a first-round playoff series Thursday night. It was Suns guard Devin Booker who scored 47 points, shooting eight of 10 from behind the three-point arc while making all nine of his free throws as Phoenix ended the Lakers’ season.
In his postgame interview, Booker said playing in Staples Center helped him reflect on the Hall of Famer’s legacy, including several of his glorious Game 6 performances. One of them was in the 2010 Western Conference finals. when Bryant scored 37 points and delivered a game-sealing dagger that propelled the Lakers into the NBA Finals.
“Honestly, I was thinking about Kob and the conversations that we had kinda about what we just went through,” Booker said, “the postseason and being legendary and taking the steps to get there. So seeing that 8 and that 24 up there with the way that the lighting that Staples has right here feels like it’s shining down on you. I know he was here tonight, I know he was here tonight. I know he’s in the building. I know he was proud.”
Bryant was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame last month after a 20-year career with the Lakers, with whom he won five championships and made 18 All-Star game appearances.
Booker is in his sixth NBA season and this is his first playoff appearance. He was selected to his second All-Star game this year when he replaced injured Laker Anthony Davis. He didn’t play in the game because of his own injury.
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Booker faced off against Bryant in 2016, the Lakers legend’s final season when Booker was a rookie. Bryant scored 17 points compared with Booker’s 28 in the Suns’ win.
“That is the first and last time I got to play against him,” Booker said after the game. “That is the memory that I get to tell everybody and there is going to be proof of it. Thank God it wasn’t an off night and I would have had to remember it as one of my worst games. Luckily I played pretty well and we came out with a win. I am 1-0 versus Kobe.”
Booker also has a tattoo that says “Be Legendary” as a reminder of words that Bryant shared with him.
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