In a lost season for the Phoenix Suns, 19-year-old rookie Devin Booker has been a bright spot.
Booker, who is averaging 12.7 points, 2.4 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game this season, has received support from players around the NBA and the league itself as Booker took part in the Rising Stars Challenge and the Three-Point Contest.
After the Suns defeated the Lakers 119-111 in a game in-which Booker scored 28 points on 12-22 shooting from the floor, Los Angeles Lakers star/great Kobe Bryant autographed a game program that had him and Booker on it, while giving Booker a pair of shoes with the message “Be Legendary” written on them.
Booker was just four days old when Bryant was NBA bound. Both of them were taken with the #13th pick at the age of 18.
“I came in the league at just the right time to play against him,” Booker said. “It’s an unbelievable feeling. It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
The two exchanged a one-on-one conversation in the postgame locker room for about ten minutes:
“It was a lot longer than I thought it was going to be,” Booker said. “He was just telling me to keep working. Never settle in this league. ‘It’s up for grabs,’ he said, ‘You know Stephen [Curry] and Klay [Thompson]’ obviously are doing their thing right now but the league is up for grabs just keep working. Keep working on my post game.’ He said there’s a lot of guards in this league that don’t post up any more. He feels like that’s an advantage for me being a big guard. It means a lot coming from Kobe.”
Bryant is not the first NBA player to offer a hat-tip to Booker. Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade had high praise for Booker after Booker dropped 34 points on the Heat in a loss:
“If he continues taking steps, he’s going to be very, very good,” Wade said. “I like him. I like him a lot.”