Suns' Devin Booker Sounds Off on Social Media Criticism: 'I Am Not Kobe Bryant'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 15, 2022

Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker dribbles during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker called for people to stop comparing him to late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

While addressing the media after Phoenix's 112-94 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday, Booker said the following about those on social media measuring him against Kobe:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

"I am not Kobe Bryant."<br><br>D-Book responds to criticism about calling out Raptors mascot and not having a Mamba Mentality <a href="https://t.co/AnDZh2w8gx">pic.twitter.com/AnDZh2w8gx</a>

"I'm really enjoying this, and I always have enjoyed social media. I check it daily and when they're saying good things about me, I don't get too high, I don't get too low on it. The only problem I have is people still comparing me to Kobe Bryant when I told them in the playoffs, 'Stop bringing up Mamba mentality.' I'm inspired by Kobe Bryant and Mamba mentality, but I am not Kobe Bryant. And people are out here yelling Mamba mentality from their mama's house. I'll leave you with that."

In part, Booker was responding to criticism for complaining about the Toronto Raptors mascot distracting him during Phoenix's win over Toronto on Tuesday and the fact that some on social media took that as an opportunity to compare him to Bryant.

The 25-year-old exploded for 35 points on 11-of-25 shooting during Friday's win over Indiana to go with four rebounds and three assists.

After helping lead the Suns to the NBA Finals last season, the two-time All-Star has been excellent again in 2021-22, averaging 23.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.7 three-pointers made per game in 34 appearances, while also shooting 43.7 percent from the field and a career-best 40.9 percent from beyond the arc.

While Booker has displayed some qualities consistent with what Bryant did during his career, he has a long way to go before reaching the level of the Black Mamba.

In 20 NBA seasons, all of which were spent with the Lakers, Kobe was an 18-time All-Star, five-time NBA champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, two-time scoring champion and one-time NBA MVP.

Bryant also ranks fourth on the NBA's all-time scoring list with 33,643 points.

Booker's accolades simply don't compare, but as a key member of a Suns team that leads the NBA with a 32-9 record, he has a chance to win his first championship this season.