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Video/quotes: Devin Booker previews Suns’ season at Media Day

Booker has a chance to step into more stardom in his eighth season

NBA: Playoffs-Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Here is what Phoenix Suns All-Star guard Devin Booker said at the team’s Media Day on Monday morning.

On his reaction to the findings of the investigation into Suns owner Robert Sarver:

“It was tough. It’s tough for me because that’s not the Robert Sarver that I know. That’s not the Robert Sarver that welcomed me to Phoenix with open arms. But at the same time, I’m not insensitive to everybody that’s involved in this situation. And I understand everybody’s personal experience with other people are always going to be different. But it’s tough to read because that’s not the person I know.”

If he reached out to former Suns coach Earl Watson about the findings of the investigation (Sarver reportedly said the ‘N’ word multiple times in a conversation with Watson):


If he sees the Sarver findings as something that could distract team:

“I think it was on its way to being a distraction but now that he’s chose to sell the team, I think we can move forward and focus on the goal that’s at hand and that’s playing basketball.”

His reaction to the Suns’ mutual decision to separate with Jae Crowder:

“I’d say it’s a little unfortunate. Jae came in here a couple of years ago and we’ve done a lot of really good things here. We’ve shaped and shifted this culture but at the same time, I wish him the best moving forward. That’s a friend and a brother that I’ll have forever. And ultimately, it comes down to a business and the team and him have made a choice and we’re going to move forward and respect both sides.”

On processing the Sarver findings:

“More with the team, more with the guys that haven’t been here. But kind of how it opened up the press. Everybody’s situation, everybody’s experience is going to be different with a different person. So there’s only so much I can say sitting from my seat. But everything I said is kind of with the mindset of moving forward. And it is what it is. He’s decided to sell the team and we have to play basketball now.”

If he was surprised on how Crowder’s situation developed:

“Yeah, everybody’s unique to themself and it’s the NBA. And situations like this happen all around the league. It’s something that I didn’t want to happen. Obviously, I want him to be on this team and he was a big part of this team. But like I said, it is what it is. It’s never going to be anything personal between us. I respect both sides of the decision and we move forward. I wish him the best moving forward wherever he goes.”

On receiving his supermax contract this summer:

“It’s so exciting. I mean, just this city, this franchise, this organization believing in me from the beginning and locking in even more long-term. Not only a commitment to the organization but to this community that I’ve been a part of for so long, that I call home. It’s really a blessing. My family’s excited, I hope the city is too. And we have some unfinished business around here and that’s what we’re going to work towards.”

On his mentality entering the season:

“I’m moving forward. All those things… the praises, the falls, I take everything that comes with this. And I think that’s what makes this a beautiful sport. I think that’s what makes it my story. I’m just going to keep working forward. Like I said, unfinished business. I’m going to be on the grind throughout my whole career, throughout my whole life. It feels like just the start for me.”

On his emotions after reading the Sarver report and Sarver’s use of the ‘N’ word:

“I was hurt. It’s tough. I don’t want to say more tough for me than anyone else involved, but I have been here the longest. And I’ve never known him as that man. I’ve never heard him say the ‘N’ word, I’ve never seen him do any of it. To read it, I’m not disregarding what anybody said. That’s just not how I know the man.”

“It’s tough. But I’ve never heard him say it myself. But the word should never be used by anybody. So it’s tough to read that.”

On signing an extension with a contending team versus when he did before with his rookie max contract in 2018 when the Suns were not established:

“I’d say it feels better because we built it. And I went through that. I went through being at the bottom of the NBA for years on end and multiple years and now signing it this time around with so much promise and so much hope. Great foundation of a young corps with great veterans. Everything I always dreamed of, a chance to play meaningful basketball, playoff basketball with chances to compete for an NBA title. So that’s my goal here, I know that’s no secret to everybody and I’m not going to stop until I get it.”

If he feels like a superstar now in his career:

(He jokingly said), “Still underrated. It’s an exciting time but the beauty of this sport, you have to keep going. This NBA doesn’t remember what you did last year. So it’s the next year mentality. All those things are beautiful, especially the 2K cover with people in here knowing how much I game and how much I played the game growing up and just understanding the impact of the video game and the reach that it has to multiple countries, to the whole entire world. I’m excited for it. I’m excited to put Phoenix on the map, my family, my friends that are enjoying this whole process. But we still have work to do.”

On the speculation of Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant joining the team this offseason:

“We have what we have here. KD going to the market, I’m sure every team, ears kind of went up and wanted to get involved in a way. He’s one of the best players to ever play this game but I’m happy with our foundation here. We’ve showed promise, we’ve showed what we’re capable of. We have the chemistry, we have the experience and years together and we’ve been through a lot of situations. So I think that’s the only way to build and get better is to get through it together. We’ve knocked down the rust off it with the first couple years together.”

On how he processed the Suns’ Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals:

“Similar to the year before that when we lost in the Finals. We fell short of our goal, and that’s to win an NBA championship. I think once you have Finals experience, that’s all you want. So to fall short of that, not necessarily just a Game 7 or round two or whatever it was. We fell short of a championship and that’s what we want to get. It’s tough, it’s like everything in life. You fall short of your goal, it’s frustrating. But you get over it quick and understand harping on the past isn’t going to do anything for you. It’s time to get better, lace them up again and get after it.”

On the qualities he’d like to see in a new owner for the Suns:

“Personable. I mean, we’ll see. I haven’t really thought about that. I don’t know who the options are, I haven’t talked to anybody. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. But just a personable relationship, somebody that can relate to the players, talk to the players. And same thing with the front office, just keep it all together.”

On staying the course with remaining in Phoenix:

“Yeah, I’m proud but like you said, we’ve been at the bottom. I’ve seen that before. And all you want to do in this game is play meaningful basketball. It’s tough when you’re sitting last in the West and there’s 30 games in the season left and you’re wondering what’s going on. So we have it here. We have the foundation, we have the tools. We have the coaching staff, the training staff. And I’m excited about what’s coming forward.”

On the Suns bringing back jerseys from the 1990s and his favorite in Phoenix:

“That one. The (Charles) Barkley’s, sunburst, I like that. That’s my favorite one, I’m excited about that. With the old Nike logo on it, I’m excited. Those are my favorite.”

On who keeps him grounded in his life:

“It’s the same group, my family. My mom, dad, brother, sister, my core unit. My friends around me, they all haven’t changed and they’re along this journey with me. Them all being here in Phoenix helps me out too and I get to see them daily and live the life that I live when I was growing up in Michigan and growing up in Mississippi. It’s a great feeling having a core unit that sticks with you and keeps you humble like that.”

On his thoughts on starting center Deandre Ayton this year:

“I’m excited for him. I know that’s a weight lifted off his shoulders (his contract extension). Kind of like the Jae situation, you understand that this isn’t just basketball. It comes down to business at some point also. The only way you can learn and understand those situations is if you’re in them. And I think he learned, and I think both sides a lot and he got his money, he got his max and now, he can just go out there and play and not have to think about it.”

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