Moss Point alum Devin Booker to play for NBA Championship
Moss Point alum and Phoenix’s rising star shooting guard Devin Booker has dribbled his way from the River City to the Valley of the Sun and into the history books, leading the Suns to the franchise’s first NBA finals since Chares Barkley did in 1993.
The move from Grand Rapids, Michigan his sophomore year of high school to South Mississippi to live with his father, Melvin Booker, became the genesis of the young Booker’s ‘Made in Moss Point’ mentality.
Melvin, Tiger alum himself, reflects on how this transition molded his son and set him up for success. “It happened so quickly. Like just ten years ago was when Devin moved to the Coast with me and now, we’re in Phoenix and we’re playing for a Finals. And it’s just been a surreal ride and to see Devin be so young to be in this experience. But Devin has that old soul that everybody says, so he’s real chill and relaxed about it. He’s not too excited. Even keel. And he’s just ready for this opportunity.”
Twenty-four-year-old Devin Booker has taken the basketball world by storm, leading the Phoenix Suns to new heights in his sixth season with the team that drafted Kentucky’s sixth man in the first round of the 2015 draft.
Despite the young Phoenix star’s rise to success, Booker has remained rooted in the values and lessons instilled in him from his time living and training with his father, Melvin Booker, Moss Point alum and former NBA player. “Come on, man. That kid is tough. That man is Moss Point made. I mean he put it on his shoes. I mean, that was one of the reasons to bring him down there. He had his years in Grand Rapids, but when he got to Moss Point and we started grinding and building his character and building his toughness, building his grind mode. He just soaked it all in. And he carries those moments with him today. We talk about it all the time, how him moving down there molded him to the player he is today.”
Since he was a baby, Booker spent every summer in South Mississippi with his dad. Once Melvin retired from playing professionally overseas, he saw an opportunity to move Devin to Moss Point and use basketball to strengthen their bond, making up for lost time. “Devin and I have worked so much together over the years that sometimes when I’m sitting in the stands watching him and I’m feeling like there’s an adjustment that he needs to make, he makes that adjustment on his own immediately. It’s just like I was in his head telling him to make the adjustment. He’s a very mature kid. Very intelligent kid. And he’s doing a good job of leading his team.”
From averaging 27 points per game over his three seasons as a Moss Point Tiger to averaging that same amount of points in each game so far of the 2021 NBA post season so far, Booker has dominated every court he’s stepped foot on whether it’s Phoenix Suns Arena or Arthur Haynes Gym.
Eight years removed from becoming the Tiger’s all-time career scoring leader with 2,263 points, Booker is tasked with steering the Suns to the franchise’s first ever NBA Championship. “We still got more work to do. I think it will eventually hit me if we eventually win this championship, I think that’s when I’ll probably explode because I’ve been kinda chill right now.”
The only thing standing in the way of Booker and the Suns hoisting up the Larry O’Brien Trophy is a healthy Giannis and the Bucks.
Win or lose, Booker already brings immense pride to those here on the Coast.