Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns is getting through the NBA hiatus and being stuck at home by mastering another competitive craft: Call of Duty.
While Phoenix Suns players like Ty Jerome, Frank Kaminsky, and Mikal Bridges have taken to NBA2K in order to keep some semblance of the season alive, Devin Booker has taken to Call of Duty as a video game outlet in this era of quarantining and social distancing.
We knew he played a lot as he often broadcasts on Twitch and recently raised $100,000 through the medium to help people affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, it turns out, Booker is a hardcore gamer.
If there is ever any doubt the sports world is turned upside down, let this fact sink in: a Los Angeles newspaper writer interviewed a Phoenix Suns basketball player about video games. Strange times, man. Strange times.
According to Markazi’s interview, Devin was that kid who used to wait outside game stores the night before the newest Call of Duty came out. Now, presumably, he pays someone to do that for him. Or just downloads it like most people these days.
If that isn’t proof Booker is intense, he claims to be playing Call of Duty 5 to 10 hours per day and solicited advice from professional Call of Duty player, “Nadeshot,” on how to set up his new house to optimize his video game room setup:
"“When I bought this house, I called him and I was like, ‘Bro, what do I need to do to make sure my setup is just as good as yours?’ He sent me a PDF file of every single thing that a player for [Nadeshot’s E-Sport’s team] would have.”"
Nadeshot was actually the person who broke the news to Booker the NBA season was suspended, recorded live on a Twitch stream. Note that this reaction in that link is (understandably) not safe for work (unless, of course, you’re working at home by yourself, then have at it).
Booker might be one of the healthiest gamers out there. However, if the stereotypes are to be believed, that is a fairly low bar. I keep envisioning the South Park episode centered on World of Warcraft where the boys get fatter, lazier, and for some reason covered in acne.
Booker is no Cartman. He says:
"“I’m trying to stay prepared as best as I can. I’m trying to eat the right way and get my push-ups and sit-ups in when I can. I actually bought a basketball hoop a week ago and put it up outside, so I’ve been shooting on that, but that’s about it. I’ve just been playing video games and relaxing with the family.”"
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Props to him for getting those home workouts in and keeping on a diet (I have done neither of those things during my extended time at home). But the most fascinating part of that quote is that Booker didn’t have a basketball goal at his house until last week and it was only put up out of COVID-19 pandemic necessity.
I mean, my 84-year-old neighbor has a hoop in his driveway, albeit covered in rust and without a net. I thought for sure all NBA players at least had a peach basket on top of their garage or something.
So, how good is Booker at Call of Duty? Is he an All-Star like he is on the court? According to him, at least amongst his NBA peers, he is the MVP:
"“If I’m being completely honest, I don’t think anyone is at my level.”"
Be legendary, Devin.
All of this makes me want to abandon my sports-games only PlayStation habit and try out the new Call of Duty. However, I instantly remember how horrible I am at first-person shooter games (seriously, it hard to express how horrible I was at Goldeneye 64 in the late ’90s) and revert to getting my butt kicked in FIFA instead.