Devin Booker has had an incredible season, but his exploits are not entirely being recognized. The Phoenix Suns guard is not in the running for MVP despite leading the Suns to the top of the Western Conference but is not worried about it.
The All-Star guard revealed that his hunger was fueled by Kobe Bryant. He stated that his on and off-court activities are strictly to inspire the youth, the same mentality Bryant had.
Booker has put in exceptional performances for the Suns every other night. However, it is likely that he is not receiving the recognition he deserves.
During an interview with The Athletic's Sam Amick, Booker was asked how he feels about not being in the MVP conversation. He said he was not worried about it.
When asked if he was satisfied with people remembering his contributions to the game, he said:
"That’s what wakes me up in the morning. That’s back to being inspired by the little kid up there. Like, my thing is — and Kob’ said it too — inspiring the youth (is everything).
"A kid grows up and is like, ‘Man, I want to be Devin. I want to dress like him. I want to play like him.’ I’ve never lost sight of that. That’s what keeps me going. Haters can do what they want and say what they want."
Booker has been on the receiving end of trolling in recent years. He recently addressed perceptions of him, saying he plays as hard as he does to correct the "light-skinned reputation" that has followed him.
How far can the Phoenix Suns go with Devin Booker leading the charge?
The Suns had an incredible run during their 2020-21 campaign but fell off during the final hurdle. They crumbled to the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals despite leading the series 2-0.
Their attempt to get back to glory the following year failed as they were eliminated in the Western Conference semifinals. They lost the series to the Dallas Mavericks after a riveting Game 7.
Led by Devin Booker, the Suns are on a mission to assert themselves as one of the best teams in the league. Despite Chris Paul being sidelined for an extended period, the Suns have continued their impressive start to the season.
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Coming into the season, the Suns were not seen as championship favorites. Many believed the LA Clippers or Golden State Warriors would win the Western Conference.
While both teams have struggled in the early stages, the Suns have the third-best record in the league. Although there is still a lot of basketball to be played this season, they look pretty solid so far in this campaign. While reaching the NBA Finals is a long shot, they look the most likely to qualify the West as things stand.