CJ McCollum says calling Devin Booker 'the next Kobe' is unfair

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

During the  115th episode of the Pull Up podcast, CJ McCollum discussed the end of the crazy Game 2 between the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns that ended on a perfect lob pass to DeAndre Ayton. 

After calling it arguably the game of the playoffs, McCollum gave some praise to Devin Booker, who has led the Suns to a 2-0 conference finals lead despite Chris Paul being out due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. 

"I'm a huge Devin Booker fan," said McCollum.

However, McCollum has taken issue with talking heads like Stephen A. Smith declaring Booker as "the next Kobe" and for good reason.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

"But I think it's a little premature to call him the next Kobe," said McCollum. 

"I think you need to allow him to continue to solidify who he is, what he is because he is special in his own right and to compare him to Kobe is just an unjust and unfair situation that you're putting him in."

CJ sees the comparison though, on and off the floor.

"I think there's a lot of similarities in their games: how smooth they are, how dedicated to their craft, obviously Book can score at three levels, he plays in Kobe's shoes, he looks up to Kobe and he has that same work ethic, that same tenacity.


"And he's positioned to potentially win the championship as a young star in this league so I respect his game and how he attacks it."

McCollum called Booker "a legitimate superstar" and insinuated people just hearing about Booker haven't been paying attention.

(Which considering the ESPN First Take crew acts like any market making a deep postseason run outside of Los Angeles and New York is catastrophic, it's likely they hadn't seen Booker play until the first round of these playoffs.)

"He was a legitimate superstar before the playoffs this season. I've seen the work, I've seen the transition, I've guarded him, I've seen how easy and effortless the game is for him.

"He's showing he has an assassin-like mentality. He's a silent killer." 

Throughout these playoffs, Booker has shown he's arguably a top-ten player in the NBA.

"He's unique, he's explosive when he needs to be, he's therapeutic in terms of his movement, in terms of how poised and calm he is for his teammates in tough situations and he's shown that he can deliver time and time again."

But, the Kobe comparisons are premature at this point. 

"I'm dissing him as the next Kobe because I think he's creating his own lane by using some of the things he's learned from Kobe. 

"If he can get a championship this early in his career, he'll be right on pace [to being historically great], right on cue."

Listen to the entire Pull Up podcast with CJ McCollum right here.