Devin Booker Says Kobe Bryant Serves as His Inspiration: 'With Me Every Day'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2020

Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker dribbles against the Los Angeles Clippers during an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

Kobe Bryant continues to be a source of inspiration for Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker after the Los Angeles Lakers legend's death in January.

Booker dropped 20 points and 10 assists in a 114-99 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday. After the game, he told reporters that "Kobe's with me every day."

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

“Kobe’s with me every day. You guys see what I put on my shoes with the ‘Be Legendary.’ It’s a reminder.” D-Book talked Kobe's impact on his career. @brkicks https://t.co/8JShaIEL94

Booker faced off with Bryant only once, when the Suns beat the Los Angeles Lakers on March 23, 2016. After the game, Bryant reached out to the Phoenix rookie and gave him his autographed shoes.

Craig Grialou @CraigAZSports

Signed shoes w/message, "Be legendary" from Kobe Bryant to Booker #SunsVsLakers https://t.co/v8bmT3Jkjs

Craig Grialou @CraigAZSports

Booker had a chance to speak with Kobe Bryant for about 10 minutes in locker room after game #SunsVsLakers https://t.co/ou5IocuYai

During a March 2017 game against the Boston Celtics, Booker went off for 70 points. After the defeat, he explained to reporters how he continued pouring in the points because of something Bryant had said about never being content with a set total.

Months after Bryant's death, ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on The Jump that Booker and Bryant "were very, very close."

Windhorst had also posited that Bryant might have respected Booker's work ethic more than any other player's in the league.

Booker is putting that work ethic on display near Orlando, Florida, as the Suns' four straight victories have them sitting 10th in the Western Conference, two games off the eight-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.