Every player when they enter into the league they would be trying to chase their icons footstep. That’s how it starts mostly for the players. It is after a while that they start modeling their own game with their own element in it. The sooner a player gets there the better it is for his overall career.
The comparison pressure is real
But the media wouldn’t allow that. A player would understand but someone who just views the game as a fan wouldn’t understand and start dissecting their games by comparing from very early on. Once the fans believe that the player would disappoint they are very quick to turn their backs and start criticisng the fans saying it is for the sake of the player.
That’s not how it works. Namely one player who is a victim of it and has been for a very long time is Devin Booker. When he first entered the league, Booker idolized Kobe and had a chance to play against the Black Mamba. His scoring prowess resembled the Los Angeles Lakers legend and fans started comparing both of their careers side by side.
Kobe’s start was different than Booker’s
The situations that both players were in are completely different. The Lakers were then competing for a title with players like Shaquille O’Neal, Rick Fox, Derek Fisher, Nick Van Exel and Robert Horry in the team. Kobe came into the league playing amongst the best.
He also idolized Michael Jordan at that time and stole as many moves as he could to ascend into the NBA scene from jut coming out of high school. With so many veteran players he had room to grow and the Lakers were patient for his development. Although it is sad that Kobe didn’t get the opportunity to play in his first 3 seasons properly due to his coach but we know how the rest of the story went.
On the flip side, Booker was introduced to a tanking team where he would be the leading scorer. There were no proper veterans nor any second star beside him who could show him the ropes. Their coach wasn’t someone to gawk at either.
Booker had to learn to play the game through his own way by watching and learning how his idol played. His growth was embraced by the fans and when he dropped 70 points on the Boston Celtics, fans thought his inner Kobe had awoken. People forget that when Kobe used to score above 60s they used to win, Booker did it in a loss when they were certain it was a blowout and gave all the possessions to Booker.
But fans took that as a sign of passing the torch and ever since then, Booker has been getting compared to Kobe even though he mentioned that he wants to create his own legacy and not copy Kobe’s. Right now Booker is in a situation to win a title and he needs to focus as much as he can to achieve his goal. Of course the fans and the media won’t stop but at least he would have served some payback!