‘He Was Here Tonight’ Devin Booker Remembers Idol Kobe Bryant After Clinching Series Against the Lakers

Published 06/04/2021, 11:53 AM EDT
Mar 21, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker reacts against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


The Phoenix Suns arguably were one of the biggest surprise packages this season. After signing Chris Paul, the Suns created a great backcourt with CP3 and Devin Booker. With Booker and Paul leading the way for many young talented players, the Suns became unstoppable in the regular season.

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With the second seed, the Suns were pitted against the seventh seeded Lakers in the first round matchup. Despite facing off against LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the underdogs the Suns never backed down.

Jun 1, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) celebrates with Jae Crowder (99) as Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) looks on in the first half during game five in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a commanding 3-2 lead, the Suns visited the Staples Center and faced the daunting Lakers’ fan base. Given that this was their chance to close down the series in some style, pressure was huge.

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Devin Booker remembers Kobe Bryant after game-winning performance

Booker certainly led the charge for the Suns. Knocking down jumpers to even contested mid-range shots, D-Book was on an absolute tear against the champions. Scoring a whooping 22 points in the first quarter, the Suns took a commanding 36-14 lead.

The offensive barrage by Booker continued for the rest of the game as well. Despite the Lakers trying to double him, the 2-time All-Star made the most of the opportunities he had against the Lakes. Knocking down 15 of his 22 shots, Booker broke his own playoff career high with a 47 point performance. With Booker’s electrifying performance, the Suns won the game 113-100.

Leading his team to a second round appearance was certainly a commendable feat by the 24-year-old. What made this event more special is that he did it in his idol Kobe Bryant‘s home stadium.

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After the game, Booker revealed how he was driven by the Mamba mentality and how he felt Kobe’s presence in the Staples Center. “Honestly, I was thinking about Kobe and the conversations that we had about what we just went through, the postseason and being legendary.”

“We’re taking the steps to get there. Seeing that eight and that 24 up there, you know with the way that the lighting at Staples has right here, it feels like you know it’s shining down on you. And I know he was here tonight. I know he was here, and I know he’s in the building. I know he’s proud.”

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This is just the start for Booker and the Suns. A victory against the Lakers is no fluke and considering the form they have shown in the series, they can be a challenge for any team moving forward. Will Phoenix make it to the NBA Finals?

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Aditya Mohapatra

1186 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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