Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker Trained With His Basketball Star Dad as a Teen

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Jul. 17 2021, Published 3:11 p.m. ET

With the 2021 NBA Finals underway, all basketball fans’ eyes are on the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns. It’s the Suns’ first NBA finals since 1993, marking an exciting time for players like Devin Booker, the Suns shooting guard who was playing pickup games with his father not too long ago.

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In fact, Devin told ESPN.com in 2016 that his father instilled in him basketball intelligence and intuition. “I was never the fastest, or the guy who could jump the highest,” he told the site. “But I always wanted to be the smartest.”

Here’s more about Devin’s family life.

Devin is the son of a cosmetologist and a former basketball player.

Devin Booker
Source: Getty Images

As azcentral sports reported in 2016, Devin grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Miss Point, Miss., as the son of Veronica Gutierrez, a cosmetologist who raised her three children on her own — and who passed along her work ethic to her famous son — and Melvin Booker, an athlete who played basketball in Europe for 13 years before quitting to coach Devin.

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Devin moved to Mississippi to train with his dad during high school, and Melvin told azcentral about a pivotal moment when he and his son, then 16, clashed over a call during a pickup game. “I got upset, so I got even rougher with him,” Melvin said. “I gave him a forearm in his chest. I wanted to see how he would respond. I’d been preaching for him to not back down to anyone.”

He went on: “I could see the look in his face, like, ‘Should I go at my dad?’ He picked up his aggression. He scored on me that play and let me know I couldn’t guard him. In my mind, I was thinking, ‘Yeah, this is the way I want him to be.’”

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The NBA star’s Mexican heritage is an inspiration to fans.

According to The Ringer, Veronica, Devin’s mom, is Mexican-American whose father was born in Los Nogales, Mexico, a border town near Texas. Devin has said that he wasn’t able to embrace his Latino heritage until he arrived in Phoenix in 2015 after a season playing with the University of Kentucky.

And having those Mexican roots has only further endeared him to many of his fans. “If you count him as a Mexican, which I’m going to do and I think a lot of us will, he’s the best Mexican basketball player ever,” Mike Vigil (a third-generation Mexican-American and a Suns podcaster) told The Ringer. “If you just acknowledge it from that perspective, then, then maybe it is OK to make it a bigger deal.”

Suns radio broadcaster Arturo Ochoa shared similar sentiments. “Imagine the pride of having your team have a guy score 40 points in a playoff game, and he has Latino blood? Mexican blood like you?” he said in Spanish, talking to the website. “Imagine how I have to paint that picture over the airwaves so that those who listen to us who are Mexican, so that they can feel proud of a guy who shares their blood being an NBA star and who might be the most important player in the city since Larry Fitzgerald.”

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