As one of the NBA’s rising stars, Devin Booker has already taken on a load not many other 20-year olds would be able to handle. In just two seasons, he has emerged as the face of a very young Phoenix Suns team that is still trying to put the pieces together. He has quickly gained respect around the league due to his competitive nature and moments of brashness, like pushing Z-Bo and living to tell about it.
Booker is an offspring of the Kobe Bryant generation, a cold-blooded assassin who dropped 70 points last month on the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed, the Boston Celtics. Even Kevin Durant opened up about wanting the Thunder to draft him back in 2015.
The Crossover had the chance to chat with Booker after wrapping up an hour-long livestream of testing out Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Continuum. The Suns star talks his 70-point game, receiving sneakers from Drake and his goals going forward.
Jarrel Harris: Why do NBA players love Call of Duty so much? Where does this obsession come from?
Devin Booker: I will say just being able to compete. We have something to compete in outside of basketball. You can play alongside friends, you can make friends on there. You know we are all just real competitors. I think that’s what interests us.
JH: How often do you hop online to play? Is there like a secret NBA league where a bunch of guys play?
DB: I know a few others that play but usually we are on the same team playing against other people. I don’t think people know who we are, we have anonymous gamer tags and names and we just go with it.
JH: So you just wrapped up your second season in the NBA. If you had to write a report on yourself, how would describe your season?
DB: If I had to write a report on myself, I would say it was a rollercoaster year. Some good things happened, some bad things happened also. We didn’t win as many games as we wanted to but there is some good in it. A lot of our young players still have the chance to develop and get better, which is really going to be good for our future. I’ll say, me personally, I broke a few records. I feel like that kind of put my name on the map, so I just have to go from there. This summer is going tell a lot about our team for next season.
JH: There were a lot of critics who tried to downplay your 70-point game because you guys lost. Is that something that bothers you?
DB: I mean, it doesn’t bother me. Everybody just wants to be heard and everyone is going to have their own opinion, but that night was special man, just writing your name in the history books for anything is a special accomplishment. Having the city of Phoenix proud of me, having the organization and family proud of me, that’s the most important thing. People can say what they want, but at the end of the day they can’t take your name out of the history books.
JH: With Kobe being a major influence in your game, was 81 something you wanted to surpass? Did you think about that during the outing?
DB: I didn’t think about that at all during the game, I was just trying to win. I mean Kobe is somebody that I idolize and look up to, and I mean 81 has never been a plan of mine but if it happens it happens. I wouldn’t limit myself to 70. I wouldn’t limit myself to nothing. I feel like I am limitless. So at the end of the day whatever happens, happens, I am just trying to win.
JH: What sneaker means the most to you in your closet and why?
DB: I will say the '95 Nike Air Max and the Jordan 1’s. The '95 Air Max, my dad used to wear them and I didn’t like the shoe at first but then he got me them, and since I had a pair, I just fell in love with them with the lime-green tint in them. I was born in '96, the year after, so it is kind of reflective of the time I was born. And the Jordan 1 that is just Jordan’s first shoe so it is just an unbelievable shoe.
JH: Nike gave you your own PE this year with the Nike Zoom Rev 2017. How did you feel when you saw that with your own logo?
DB: It was a great feeling, man. Growing up you always want to have your own shoe. I remember drawing in my notebooks making up pretend logos, and writing fake autographs and having the chance to live out all of that is unbelievable man. It’s an hour to be in this situation and you know I don’t want to settle. I want this to be the beginning. Hopefully next comes a signature shoe and we go from there. Everyday I am just trying to get better and be the best that I could be.
JH: Drake put the Air Jordan 8 “Calipari Pack” on Instagram and you commented on the photo. So who is the bigger plug: Coach Cal or Drake?
DB: Haha. Drake has them on the way for me. I hit his right-hand man; his name is Future the Prince. He’s the real plug so when he saw that he reached out to me and told me to text him my size and when I would need them by. So I think they are on their way, so shoutout to Future the Prince man.
JH: If Nike provided you with your own national TV sneaker commercial, what do you want it to be about?
DB: I did something earlier in the year, it was a big campaign called “Come of Nowhere”. I think I posted it on my Instagram also. It might not be my first TV airing commercial, but I like that a lot because it shows where I am from, where I grew up at and the people that influenced me to get to this level. So if I ever had a commercial, I want it to be kind of similar to that.
JH: What’s next for Devin Booker on and off the court? Do you already goals lined up for next year?
DB: I have goals lined up for the next 50 years, man. Outside of basketball, just in life, I don’t really speak on them but everyday I tried to reach something. So everyday just know I am working to take care of my family, my friends and making everyone around me happy.
JH: So Odell Beckham, Trey Songz and you walk into a room: Who gets the most cheers?
DB: Who gets the most cheers or chicks?
DB: Haha, that is a good question. I would say it depends on the crowd. But I got a lot because of that picture. But I am going with myself because I am not saying another guy's name.