In the NBA, Devin Armani Booker, who was born on October 30, 1996, plays for the Phoenix Suns (NBA). Booker was the 13th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draught after spending one year with the University of Kentucky Wildcats. In 2017, at the age of 20, he set a record by scoring 70 points against the Boston Celtics, making him the youngest player to ever score 60 or more points in a game. Booker, then just 22 years old, made NBA history in 2019 by scoring 50 points in three straight games.
Booker is the offspring of cosmetologist mom Veronica Gutiérrez and point guard dad Melvin Booker, who won the Big Eight Player of the Year award in 1994. Gutiérrez’s parents met when his dad was a player for the Grand Rapids Hoops of the Continental Basketball Association in Gutiérrez’s hometown. While his African-American father pursued a professional basketball career abroad, Booker was born and raised in Grand Rapids with his mother, who is reportedly of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent.
Booker moved to Mississippi to be with his father after the latter retired from professional basketball. During his freshman year at Grandville High School in Michigan, Booker played for the freshman, junior varsity, and varsity basketball teams. In August 2011, he started high school at Moss Point, where his father was working as an assistant coach. Booker scored more points than any other player on his team in a 52-32 loss to Gulfport High School in their fifth game of the season.
In a game against Harrison Central High School in December, he hit a buzzer-beating shot from beyond midcourt to help Moss Point to a victory, raising the team’s record to 4-6 on the year. After just one season on the varsity for the Moss Point Tigers, sophomore guard Devin Booker averaged 22.7 points per game in early January, prompting sportswriter Creg Stephenson to proclaim, “Sophomore guard Devin Booker has developed into one of the top players on the coast.”
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The impact Devin Booker has made away from the court has been just as significant. Since joining Special Olympics Arizona in 2015, he has participated in local clinics and made friends with local athletes and felt “right at home” doing so.
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Summary of Career
When the fifth annual NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Basketball Game was held in Toronto this past February, Devin was there to serve as an honorary coach. As his number one fan, Jenna Warren, is a young woman with Down syndrome, he invited her to the NBA Draft Lottery in New York City with him in the spring of 2016. In 2017, he surprised Special Olympics Arizona athlete Noah Smith with the same chance.
The Devin Booker Starting 5 initiative is a 5-year programme that will donate $500,000 annually to five different nonprofit organisations in Arizona that serve youth. In November 2019, Booker announced that Special Olympics Arizona would be one of the five organisations to receive this funding. Booker will utilise his social media following to spread the word about the Special Olympics and encourage participation in sports generally, and basketball specifically, among younger people.
Activations with Special Olympics International, Special Olympics China, Special Olympics North America, and Special Olympics Arizona will keep him engaged with opportunities at home and abroad.
With the majority of Moss Point’s seasoned players having graduated the year before, Booker took over the point guard position as a junior. Booker scored 48 points to lead Moss Point to a 100-55 victory over Ocean Springs High School in a game played in early December. Booker outscored the entire Ocean Springs High School team, 40-39, through three quarters.
After that, in the second annual Melvin Booker Shootout, named after his father, he scored 30 points (on 7 three-pointers) as his team defeated Laurel High School, 54-37. The following week, Booker suffered a sprained MCL in the third quarter of a game against Harrison Central High School, where he had scored 9 points and pulled down 7 rebounds.
Booker suffered a minor injury, but he still managed to score 26 points in Moss Point’s next game, a 52-48 loss to Davidson High School in the Jackie Laird Christmas Classic at Biloxi High School. Booker added Duke to his list of schools interested in recruiting him after scoring a season-high 49 points in an 80-65 win over Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School on the second day of the Classic.
In early January, Moss Point competed in the Poplar Bluff showdown, where they went 1-2, losing to Maplewood Richmond Heights High School and the host Poplar Bluff High School while beating Kirby High School from Memphis. Fans from the University of Missouri showed up in droves to cheer on Booker, who had an impressive scoring average of 30.2 points in Moss Point’s three games.
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