It must be the shoes.
Kobe’s to be specific, who also happens to be Devin Booker’s inspiration.
Friday night, The Phoenix Suns fell 120 – 130 to the Boston Celtics. 70 of those 120 buckets coming from 20-year-old shooting guard Devin Booker.
The last time the NBA has seen such a high scoring performance was in 2006 when #8 Kobe Bryant scored 81 on the Toronto Raptors. Devin Booker became the sixth and youngest player in NBA history to score at least 70 points in a game.
Notable players who also are in the 70+ points club include:
- Wilt Chamberlain
- 78 pts in 1961
- 100 pts in 1962
- 73 pts in 1962 x2 (10 months apart, January 13 then again on November 16)
- 72 pts in 1962
- David Thompson scored 73 pts in 1978,
- Elgin Baylor dropped 71 points in 1960,
- David Robinson scored 72 in 1962 and another 71 pts in 1994,
- Kobe Bryant had a monster 81 pts in 2006
- and now, Devin Booker.
If it isn’t evident to you by now, this doesn’t happen regularly.
Friday, March 24th was a night to remember, and a night that will be talked about for a long, long time. (This was also the same night Bookers’ alma matter Kentucky Wildcats advanced past the UCLA Bruins to the Elite 8 in the March Madness tournament.)
Post-game after seeing the stat sheet, Booker told reporters that he felt this was possible because Kobe (Bryant) “never set himself with a limit, and that always stuck with my head.”
March 23, 2016, was Bryant’s last game against the Suns, and a young Booker made sure to get some memorabilia from the legend. Kobe signed a pair of shoes and a game program. On the shoes, he left a little inspirational message: “be legendary.”
Be Legendary #70 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/IID56dyXA3
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) March 25, 2017
And that’s exactly what Booker was.
The Kobe-Booker comparisons flooded twitter following the game, (some even creating theories that the similarities between the two are Illuminati confirmed):
20-year old Devin Booker just scored 70 points! And people got mad at me for making this… pic.twitter.com/envzDHGxQE
— David Astramskas (@redapples) March 25, 2017
As well as other NBA players tweeting their surprise and elation for the young Suns guard.
I don't really tweet much…let alone about an opposing player…..but 70 points…smh crazy… @DevinBook props bro!
— Austin Rivers (@AustinRivers25) March 25, 2017
Devin booker just went HAM…and cheese
— Evan Turner (@thekidet) March 25, 2017
All u ppl hating can't even score 70 on 2k. Let's appreciate that we were all able to witness that! @DevinBook
— Marquese Chriss (@Quese_22) March 25, 2017
That bull got game @DevinBook . A light 70 piece mcnugget with sweet and spicy sauce
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) March 25, 2017
He lit up the night, and as opposing Celtics head coach Brad Steven’s said, Booker was “in his zone” and the Suns knew it, too, as they kept feeding him the ball.
Isaiah Thomas, who won the game, was salty about the way the Suns helped build their 20-year-old’s confidence.
“It was weird what they were doing,” a petty Thomas said post game. “I’ve never seen nothing like that — chasing those numbers. I mean, it is what it is.” “I don’t think anybody’s ever seen that,” he said. “I mean, continue to call timeouts — continue to foul when we’re up 15. But, I mean it was obvious what they were trying to do — give him the most points possible. I mean, hat off to him though, he played a hell of a game.”
When asked whether the Celtics took it as a sign of disrespect, Thomas said he didn’t want to get into all of that, but did make sure to hint at his Celtic’s success versus the Suns…not so successful season, “we’re worried about the playoffs, they’re worried about the lottery.”
Sure, he had a right to be petty. Getting fouled as you’re up 10 with 40 seconds left just to create a historic night for Booker in the TD Garden could be irritating. But not only did the Celtics win, they are one of the best defensive teams in the league and after holding Phoenix to just 5-of-22 shooting in the first quarter they built a lead that the Suns were never able to pass. On a wider scale, the Celtics are the second seeded team in the eastern conference with an already clinched playoff spot. The Phoenix Suns aren’t even in playoff contention, and they are the team that traded Isaiah Thomas to Boston in 2014 and, you know, the rest is history.
Earlier this month, Thomas said it was like the Suns “gave me a Christmas gift sending me away,” when they traded him to the Celtics.
So after all, why be petty, Isaiah? Let Booker enjoy his special night and be happy with your win.
Thomas wasn’t the only petty Celtic, however. Small forward Jae Crowder took to Instagram to let out some thoughts in the comment section of the Suns and Booker smiling holding a piece of paper that read the number 70 — self-explanatory.
The NBA is the best.
Check out the comments underneath the pics.
Bossmann99 is Jae Crowder. pic.twitter.com/txmnsqvbeH
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) March 25, 2017
Yes, the Suns lost despite Bookers’ 70 points. Yet for Devin Booker this is a huge accomplishment, and as the wise Kanye West once rapped: if you were sleeping on him, hope you had a good snooze, because all eyes will be on Booker from now on. He’s about to make a lot more noise (in his upcoming seasons).
It’s the mamba effect.