Kobe Bryant was a generational talent who touched the lives of countless players and people with his inspiring work ethic and dedication to the game of basketball.
Bryant was also a steward of the game, spending the later years of his career and retirement as a mentor to some of the NBA’s current stars. One player who seems to be taking in Bryant’s footsteps is Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker.
Booker is currently averaging nearly 24 points a game this season, has the Suns in position to make the playoffs, and could earn a second career All-Star Game selection. His smooth blend of shooting and scoring has turned heads, and if one looks closely some of his moves mirror those of the Los Angeles Lakers icon.
Booker recently reflected on not only receiving a pair of shoes from Bryant but also the praise he earned for having the necessary skills to carve out his own legacy, via Michael Wilbon of ESPN:
They exchanged numbers, and Kobe signed shoes for Booker. “One shoe said, ‘To the young one,’ and the next one was, ‘To Book, be legendary,'” Booker says, smiling at the memory. “He didn’t only just write ‘be legendary,’ he told me what it was going to take to get there. … He told me I have the footwork, I have intangibles to be legendary. It’s finding more and wanting more and going to get more.”
Booker got the words “Be Legendary” tattooed on his arm, showing that those signed game sneakers meant more to the up-and-coming guard than one could ever know. Since then, the Phoenix star has steadily improved each year and has established himself as one of Bryant’s few heirs.
Although Bryant is no longer with us, his spirit and legacy live on through players like Booker and the Lakers legend is surely proud of what the latter has been able to do in his short career so far.
Lakers still closing out huddles with “Mamba on 3”
During the Lakers’ 2020 NBA championship run, they were fueled by honoring Bryant and winning it all for him. One of the ways they remembered him was by ending their huddles with “Mamba!”
Although it’s been over a year since his passing, the team still chooses to end their huddles this way and is a subtle way to keep his memory alive.
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