By Robert Wilson
Moss Point High alumnus Devin Booker became in the first Mississippian to start a game in the NBA finals in history when he scored 27 points to help the Phoenix Suns to a 118-105 victory over the Milawaukee Bucks Tuesday night in Game 1 of the best of seven series.
There have many Mississippians to play in the NBA finals, the latest being Meridian High alumnus Rodney Hood in 2017, but they have never started in a Finals game after extensive research on basketball reference website, which lists 67 players who played high school basketball in Mississippi since the NBA began.
Booker, 24, is in his sixth season in the NBA after playing one year at Kentucky. He became the youngest player in NBA history to score 60 points (he scored 70) in 2017. Booker became the youngest player to have conseuctive 50 point games in 2019. He has a career scoring average of 23 points per game and averaged 25.6 points this season. Booker is averaging 27 points in 16 playoff games this season. He scored 47 against the Los Angeles Lakers in a first round game and 40 against the Los Angeles Clippers in a conference finals game.
Booker has the highest scoring career average of any Mississippian in NBA history. The second and third best are Lanier High alum Monta Ellis (17.8 points from 2006-2017) and Hattiesburg High alum Purvis Short (17.3 from 1979-90).