Portland Trail Blazer Damian Lillard made it clear who he wanted to fill his shoes after a groin injury knocked him out of the All-Star game: the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker. Gina Mizell of the Athletic details how the two guards share a relationship off the court. Lillard, six years older than Booker, has served as a role model for the younger leader.
Early on, Lillard told Booker he was one of his favorite individuals to play against. Lillard, 29, then started periodically reaching out to Booker, 23, discussing tips on how to lead a young team and topics beyond the court. When Booker learned of Lillard’s injury, he was more concerned about the long-term health of his friend than of what his absence could mean for his own All-Star prospects.
After Booker was officially announced as Lillard’s replacement Thursday, Lillard disclosed on the Trail Blazers’ Twitter account that he often flips to Suns games in his free time because “Book is my favorite — my personal favorite — player to watch in the league.”
The admiration that Lillard has for Booker is mutual. There is a lot the younger likes about the older player.
“Just the approach that he brings to the game, the demeanor he brings to the game and the killer mindset,” Booker said of what he appreciates about Lillard, who is averaging 29.5 points and 7.9 assists per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 39.3 percent on 10 3-point attempts per game.
While Booker performed well in the three-point contest on Saturday night, he ultimately lost to Buddy Hield. However, he will still get to enjoy the honor of playing in the All-Star game—with some support from his friend, Damian Lillard.
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