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Stephen A. Smith : Devin Booker Embraces Kobe Bryant’s Mentality More Than Jimmy Butler

Three Starting Lineup Options for the Phoenix Suns in the 2023-24 NBA Season

ESPN analyst and host of “First Take,” , Stephen A. Smith, has made a bold comparison between Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker and the late Kobe Bryant, emphasizing Booker’s desire to embody the legendary mentality associated with Kobe, citing the shoes Bryant gifted him during his rookie season, which had the phrase “Be legendary” written on them.

Devin Booker is considered one of the NBA’s top players. During the 2022-23 NBA playoffs, he achieved a remarkable feat, becoming the first player since Michael Jordan to score at least 295 points in the initial eight playoff games.

In that playoff run, the Phoenix Suns pushed the defending champion Denver Nuggets to six games, and it’s speculated they could have won the series had Booker not sustained a foot/ankle injury early in Game 5.

At 26 years old, Booker is entering the prime of his career and has drawn comparisons to Kobe Bryant due to his exceptional shot-making skills and mentality.

ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith even stated in an interview with Shannon Sharpe on “Club Shay Shay” that Booker’s style and approach remind him more of Kobe Bryant than another NBA star, Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat.

Stephen A. Smith pointed out that while Jimmy Butler is a hard worker, the key distinction between him and Devin Booker is that Butler tends to prioritize offense more during the postseason, whereas Kobe Bryant and Devin Booker are consistently focused on their scoring from the beginning of the game.

Butler, on the other hand, may need some encouragement to take shots during regular-season games.

Despite comparisons to Kobe Bryant, Devin Booker emphasized that he’s inspired by the Mamba mentality but is his own individual.

He made this statement after an incident where he yelled at the Toronto Raptors’ mascot during free-throw attempts.

Looking ahead to the 2023-24 NBA season, the Phoenix Suns, led by Booker, Kevin Durant, and Bradley Beal, are considered strong championship contenders with the potential to create one of the most skilled offenses in NBA history.

The team will be coached by former Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel, who previously led the Lakers to an NBA championship in 2020.

Additionally, the Suns have retained their associate head coach, Kevin Young, who is expected to play a role in developing the team’s offense.

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