There is always a fight within NBA circles to compare current players with past legends. Conversations are constantly being had about who is the “next” Jordan, Kobe, Magic and LeBron, among others. The performance of Devin Booker in the Phoenix Suns’ run to the NBA Finals has drawn a lot of comparisons to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
There are different reasons for these comparisons. Booker’s scoring ability, especially in the midrange, has looked very reminiscent of Bryant as has been his fearlessness in big moments. There is also the relationship between the two as Booker has openly spoken about how much he idolized Bryant growing up and the workouts he was able to do with him to improve his game.
Now in the NBA Finals just a couple of wins away from his first championship, Booker was recently interviewed by ESPN’s Malika Andrews and asked what Kobe would tell him. The answer Booker gave was spot on:
"Finish the job. That's what he'd tell me."
—Devin Booker on what Kobe would have said to him right now ????
— ESPN (@espn) July 8, 2021
The reason this answer resonates as something Kobe likely would tell Booker in the NBA Finals is that it is something Bryant said himself while in the 2009 NBA Finals. Up 2-0 against the Orlando Magic, Bryant famously said “Job’s not finished” when asked why he wasn’t smiling despite the series lead.
Booker now finds himself in the same situation with the Suns up 2-0 against the Milwaukee Bucks. While things are looking great at the moment, there is a definite need to finish the job for Booker and the Suns otherwise these early wins will mean absolutely nothing.
Both Booker and his backcourt partner Chris Paul have brought up Bryant during Phoenix’s playoff run, which serves as a reminder of the Lakers legend’s impact throughout the league. Both Booker and Paul will heed the words and advice of Bryant as they inch closer towards winning their first NBA Championship.
Jayson Tatum reveals advice he received from Kobe Bryant
Another young player who idolized Bryant growing up and is now drawing comparisons to him is Boston Celtics wing Jayson Tatum. Much like Booker, Tatum was able to develop a relationship with Bryant before his passing and recently revealed some advice Kobe gave him.
Tatum says that Bryant told him that not everyone will understand what he does because of the sacrifice it takes to be great. Kobe also told Tatum that the ultimate question is how much he is willing to give up to be great.
With the likes of Booker and Tatum leading the way, the legacy of Kobe Bryant will continue to live on.
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