The Phoenix Suns are blessed. They are blessed to have a superstar rostered on their team that quietly goes about his business and focuses on the task at hand. He doesn’t look for reasons that he has been wronged, he isn’t actively utilizing the media to direct his personal narrative or agenda. Devin Booker, who is preparing for his ninth season in the NBA – and in a Suns uniform – is a class act.
Perhaps it is one of those things that we don’t appreciate as much as we should. His lack of toxicity has attracted elite players, desiring to come to Phoenix and join him. His dedication to his craft, willingness to win, and reputation as a basketball junkie has been a magnet that has gained notoriety amongst stars throughout the league.
“I love Devin Booker, man,” Durant told Bill Simmons on a podcast in 2017. “He love the game and he like a dog. He’ll talk (expletive). He’ll, like, rough you up. He’ll get up into you. You better watch out for that boy because he is nice. He next — I’m telling you.”
Chris Paul. Kevin Durant. Bradley Beal. They have all come to Phoenix to join Booker, because of who he is and how he handles his business.
It’s just as Booker wanted it.
Just think of how crazy of a statement this was. It was 2018. Devin Booker was 22. He was yet to be an All-Star. The Suns were consistently awful…but it happened. The superteam came to him.— Suns Are Better (@SunsAreBetter) February 9, 2023
The Suns now have a superteam, thanks to Devin Booker. pic.twitter.com/UCgNpHCwy1
In 2018, Booker stated, “I’d like the superteam to come to me.” They have, and it is due to the reasons stated above.
You gain a deeper appreciation of who Booker is and how he handles his business when you see how others in the NBA conduct themselves. James Harden, who is quite possibly a top 10 shooting guard of all time, is a polar opposite of Devin Booker. He is someone who never appears happy, and has no issue communicating that through his actions and words.
He has forced his way out numerous times, playing for three teams since 2020-21. He wasn’t happy in Houston. So he demanded out and came into the season overweight. He didn’t want to play in Brooklyn. So he slowed down and lackadaisically approached the game of basketball. And, for the third time in three years, he is once again attempting to force his way off of a team, despite opting into his $35.6 million contract.
The Philadelphia 76ers stated that they would attempt to trade him, but nothing has materialized. His response?
James Harden: “Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of. Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of.” pic.twitter.com/AmHJ0WwbF2— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 14, 2023
I’m not privy to the entire story; I don’t know what conversations occurred between Harden and Morey. But I do know that the actions taken by James Harden, justified or not, serve as a constant reminder of how amazing Devin Booker is.
I am sure Booker has had his grievances in the past. He developed and played during the darkest days in the franchise, as he was drafted amidst the longest drought in Suns playoff history. He had every reason to voice his frustrations in a dysfunctional environment. But he didn’t.
The national media has generated narratives around Booker, fabricating trades to the Knicks without merit. Booker has never stated or suggested that he’d rather be anywhere else than Phoenix, Arizona. He has stayed the course and is reaping what he has sowed. The Suns are primed for one of the most exciting seasons in franchise history, and Devin Booker is at the heart of it all.
Don’t take it for granted.
Appreciate who and what Devin Booker is and how he handles his business. Respect a player who acts with class. The other side of the coin is an ugly one, and from a fan standpoint, it creates a tumultuousness that no one desires. Just ask your local 76ers, Nets, and Rockets fan.