After breaking his nose in game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, Phoenix Suns all star guard Devin Booker will likely be rocking the protective mask for game 3 in LA against the Clippers. NBA fans seem to have a fetish with NBA players and their “mask games”. Kobe and Lebron are two of the more recent starts to have these iconic masked performances, but is it enough to crack the top 3 all time?
Number 3: Kobe sure enough makes the top 3. In a 2012 win against the Kings, Kobe dropped 38 points on the team from Sacramento. A show was put on at the Staples Center as Kobe played 37 min shooting 13/24, all while giving his best Phantom of the Opera impression.
Number 2: Rip Hamilton is hardly a household NBA name, but his masked performance in game 3 of the 2004 NBA finals helped the Pistons gain a crucial 2-1 series lead over a Lakers team that featured Shaq and Kobe. Rip went for 31 points. More importantly was his defense. Hamilton was tasked with guarding Kobe Bryant. Rip limited the all time legend to only 11 points. As we all know, the Pistons upset the Lakers in this series to become champions, and a huge credit for that belongs to a masked Rip Hamilton.
Number 1: Mr.Triple Double himself, Russell Westbrook takes the top spot on this list. In March of 2015, Russ dropped 49 points, to go along with 15 boards and 10 assists. Kevin Durant did not play here due to a broken foot. So, in typical Russ fashion, he went ballistic. Russ played damn near the entire game, shooting 16/33, and most importantly pulling out a 5 point win over the 76ers.
So there we have it, the top 3 masked NBA performances of all time. The stage is set tonight for Booker to join this list. Game 3, Western Conference Finals, on the road. Let’s see what the young star has in store.