Devin Booker said he was inspired by Kobe Bryant never to put a limit on what he can achieve after his stunning 70-point showing for the Phoenix Suns on Friday.
Booker scored the most points since Bryant’s 81-point effort against the Toronto Raptors in 2006 as the Suns lost 130-120 to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.
And the 20-year-old, who received a pair of signed shoes from five-time NBA Champion Bryant during the Los Angeles Lakers’ final season last year, revealed some words of wisdom from the 18-time All-Star fuelled his incredible display.
“I’ve seen an interview with Kobe, he said what separated him from a lot of people, everyone thought 30 points was a lot, he said he never set himself with a limit,” Booker told reporters.
“That always sticks in my head, he said he’d score a hundred if he could. He never had a limit and I don’t put a limit on anything.
“I want to be the best in life, in all parts of life not just basketball, I never set a limit to ‘I want 40 points, I want 50 points’, the most I can get, I don’t want no limit on my game.”
All 70 points from Devin Booker.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) March 25, 2017
With the Suns a lowly 22-51, Booker was delighted to give the franchise something to smile about, adding: “It is [weird to celebrate the game], because we’ve all been winners most of our life.
“But at the same time, the way our season is going right now, we’re kind of looking for something to celebrate. And that meant a lot, to see my veterans happy.
“Tyson Chandler over there, cheering me on. Jared Dudley had 10 assists tonight, looking for me every time down court.
“So it is [weird] sometimes, but you have to see the beauty in it. At the end of the day, history was made, and I couldn’t do it without my team, so they’re going to celebrate.”
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 25, 2017
Booker’s total, the highest by any player this season, made him just the sixth player to reach the 70-point mark, but the Celtic’s Isaiah Thomas was not completely impressed with how the Suns helped Booker reach the milestone.
“We won the game. We’re worried about the playoffs, and they’re worried about the lottery,” Thomas said. “Seventy points in any league is a hell of a game. It’s just how they did it at the end, and you can’t even be mad at the players.
“I don’t think anybody’s ever seen that. Continue to call time-outs, continue to foul when we’re up 15.
“But, I mean, it was obvious what they were trying to do – get him the most points possible. Hats off to him, though. He played a hell of a game.”