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Kobe Bryant’s ‘be legendary’ advice to Devin Booker comes full circle after 70-point night

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) is congratulated by guard Leandro Barbosa (19) in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. Booker scored 70 points, but the Celtics won 130-120. Booker is just the sixth player in NBA history to score 70 or more points in a game. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

366 days ago, Kobe Bryant spoke with then-rookie guard Devin Booker after a 119-107 Phoenix Suns loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant gave a gift — a signed pair of shoes with a message.

“Be legendary.”

Friday night, Booker did just that, becoming the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 70 points in a game.

Booker’s first two posts on Twitter after the big performance?

In order for the spectacle to come even more full circle, Booker’s 70 points were the most scored by an NBA player since — you guessed it — Kobe’s 81 against Toronto in 2006.

To make the story even more ludicrous, Booker’s 70 came on the same day of the year as Tom Chambers’ 60 against Seattle in 1990, the previous franchise record for point scored in an individual game.

Booker’s been compared to the all-time great, and after that game last year, he spoke about how special the moment was when he had his first field goal attempt with Bryant guarding him.

“It’s just something I will remember for the rest of my life and I can tell my kids about,” said the 19-year-old. “I remember me catching the ball and I had it in kind of the short post. And I missed the shot but I used one of his moves against him and that’s the first thing he said against me. ‘You’re trying to use my own move against me?’ He said that right at the end of the game, so it was fun. That was the only time we matched up but like I said it’s something I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Bryant spoke about the moment as well.

“I think the most important thing about my career is being able to pass it on and have the next generation of athletes embody the same spirit and learn some of the same techniques and have that same mindset,” Bryant said. “That’s the coolest thing to me. Playing against Booker tonight, I mean he went straight to my move the first time he caught it. ‘You don’t have to beat me on my move man!’ But it was great to see, it was absolutely great to see because I remember I did the same thing with MJ.”

When Bryant scored 81 points, it was the most by a guard since Michael Jordan’s 69 in 1990. Now, the latest guard to meet the two above the 65-point threshold is Booker, putting him in the most elite company imaginable for a shooting guard, all before his 21st birthday.


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