Suns’ Devin Booker, 2K Foundations renovate west Phoenix court

Feb 3, 2023, 7:23 AM | Updated: Feb 8, 2023, 6:47 pm

PHOENIX — It would take some mental fortitude for it not to be driving Devin Booker crazy.

The Phoenix Suns guard, known for his competitive drive even by NBA standards, missed his 19th straight game Wednesday due to a left groin strain. It is the longest consecutive stretch of missed games in Booker’s career and only the second absence in his eight NBA seasons that reached double digits.

He is known for getting back as soon as possible and playing through stuff, but after he re-injured the groin on Christmas, he and the Suns are wisely taking this one slow.

Any boost in the meantime will help him. So the timing of announcing the completion of a court renovation project, designed by legendary tattoo and graffiti artist Mister Cartoon, worked out nicely. Booker helped show off the fresh court in west Phoenix with 2K Foundations on Tuesday.

A few hundred fans, a fair amount of them kids, were able to join Booker as he broke in the court in their own neighborhood. Booker took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony and then stuck around for some drills for the kids to really make it official.

Booker created some moments, which to him is the most important part of this type of occasion.

“It’s different than your standard meet-and-greet situation,” Booker said Wednesday. “It’s kind of a free-for-all and I try to give every kid or every person that moment. So, going to some underprivileged areas, parts of Phoenix that I haven’t been to or don’t spend time to. But to shed some light on it, put some light on the court. It was a good time.”

One of those was the first basket on the court, a lob to a youngster with some hops.

“A lot of those kids get the chance to be there off of good behavior, which I learned,” Booker said. “I think it was a special moment. They didn’t know where they were going (or) what they were pulling up to.”

Booker partnered with 2K Foundations to provide a custom-painted court to Chicanos Por La Causa Community Center. The center was formed in 1969 to fight discrimination against the Mexican American community and has programs to help growth in health and human services, housing, education, economic development and advocacy.

The two-guard has his own Mexican roots from his grandfather, who was born in Mexico, and Booker’s work through the community in the Valley has always had an emphasis on further building that bond when possible.

Earlier this year, Booker had an impromptu, off-the-grid appearance at a local car club’s holiday event that holds a fundraiser for foster kids. That same car club, Sophisticated Few, pulled up with its collection on Tuesday at the event.

Booker during the event took time to take pictures with each car and catch up with some of its members.

“Shoutout to Sophisticated Few. … They told me whenever you want us to pull up, we will,” Booker said. “We’re aligned in the same ways. We just want to give back and understand our impact on the community.”

After Booker left, the court was still filled with kids playing basketball, and that was really what the whole day was about.

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