Devin Booker is aware of his power to cause a stir on social media.
He laughed during his explanation to reporters on Tuesday about the premise of his self-made LeBron James “mood” meme he posted on his Instagram account the previous day.
That photo of James with Booker’s “mood” caption came after the Suns’ preseason home-opening 134-124 upset loss to Australia’s NBL team, Adelaide 36ers.
Booker’s screenshot of James was derived from the postgame press conference when the 2011 finals-closing Game 6 when the James was a member of the Miami Heat, which lost to the Dallas Mavericks.
Many fans speculated that Booker channeled James’ infamous response to a reporter’s question justifying his dismissive approach to critics and fans who wanted to see him lose in the finals. James received much backlash when he revealed on ESPN in July 2010 he wouldn’t re-sign with his home-state team Cleveland Cavaliers, which drafted him in 2003, and joined the Heat instead.
“It’s just one of those interviews that sticks in my head,” Booker said about James in that press conference. “I remember watching it live, man. And that just comes with it. A lot of criticism comes with playing sport or being on TV.
“It’s just a perspective thing. Everybody take a look in the mirror, and nobody’s perfect. It’s just how I felt at the time.”
Many fans on social media deemed Booker to be too sensitive to the criticism.
“I remember when he first said it, people didn’t take it well. I knew it was coming,” Booker added about James and his meme with a chuckle.
Booker claimed “it’s more of a life statement” than just about the vitriol of the Suns losing to the 36ers.
The Suns will play in their second preseason game against James and the Lakers on Wednesday in Las Vegas.
The Lakers were blown out by the Sacramento Kings in their first preseason game on Tuesday, 105-75.
Booker said it doesn’t matter who the Suns’ opponent is to bounce back from the loss. Even if that means beating their Pacific Division rival Lakers with James’ fellow All-Stars Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook to silence critics following the Suns’ loss.
“I want to win every time I touch the floor,” Booker said. “From one-on-one drills, two-on-two drills, to who can walk the fastest to their car. I think that’s how our team is, too. We’re just competitive.
“There’s no excuse for us losing, and we’re gonna try to win (on Wednesday), but it is the preseason. We’re still 0-0 going into the Game 1 versus Dallas.”
The Suns play their first regular season home game against the Mavericks, the team they were blown out by at home in Game 7 of last season’s Western Conference semifinals, on Oct. 19.
Booker said he doesn’t play for pride in rivalry matchups like the Suns and Lakers, but he’s more motivated to play against his childhood idols such as James and other elite players.
“It just depends. I mean, I respect everybody, usually players, guys that I idolize and still idolize at the same time,” Booker said.
“I say I bring the same energy to every game, but, you get a chance to play against LeBron, I don’t lose sight of when I was a kid watching him, or my early years when I’m playing against Dwyane Wade and Tim Duncan. It’s not team to team for me, more players.”
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