Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was selected Wednesday to supplant harmed Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis in the NBA All-Star Game.
Commissioner Adam Silver picked Booker to take Davis’ recognize a day after Booker was reprimanded by the league’s head coaches for a reserve spot in the March 7 game in Atlanta.
Booker got a major applause from the home crowd Wednesday night when the 6th year guard was declared as a two-time All-Star during the beginning lineup presentations. Coach Monty Williams said pregame that the honor was merited.
“The situation at the time was a bit weird for us when Devin didn’t get the call, but we’re grateful for what has transpired over the last few hours and we’re just happy for Book,” Williams said.
After Booker was reprimanded Tuesday night, there was a chorus of doubt from a portion of the league’s top players, including LeBron James.
“Devin Booker is the most disrespected player in our league!!! Simple as that,” the Lakers star and Western Conference captain tweeted.
Booker said he did whatever it takes not to get baffled by the initial snub and anticipates another All-Star experience.
“I focus on my family, my close ones around me,” Booker said after a 124-121 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. “They did a good job of keeping me very humble and down to earth. At the end of the day, it is bigger than this basketball thing and the entertainment behind it and the politics behind it.
“I am getting to the age of finally understanding that.”
Davis, voted in as a reserve, is sidelined by a stressed right calf and Achilles tendinosis.
Booker has gotten both of his All-Star selections as an injury substitution. He’s averaging 24.7 points, 4.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and shooting a career-high 50.1% from the field.
Booker and individual All-Star Chris Paul have helped Phoenix to a 20-10 record, fourth-best in the NBA. The Suns last had two All-Stars in 2009-10 with Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire.
James and Eastern Conference captain Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets will draft their rosters from the pool of starters and reserves on March 4.