The hate on Russell Westbrook must end

Javier Sarmiento, Co-Editor of Feature


As an athlete, we get criticized for the good and bad things. If I score 30 points but don’t get my teammates involved, people will say that is selfish even though it resulted in a win for the team. On the other hand, if I commit five turnovers that lead to a loss for the team, people will say, “He lost the game with the costly turnovers. He is not doing his job correctly”.  This is a tough position to be in.

In the case of Russell Westbrook, he is dealing with both sides of the criticism and more. As a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, there are high expectations as they are tied with the Celtics for the most championships in NBA history with 17. Every year they are supposed to be title contenders and rightly so.  So, when they don’t achieve that, it is very disappointing and understandable. However, just because someone is not playing well doesn’t justify receiving death threats directly to their families and to themselves. Russell Westbrook said, “It affects them even going to games,” he said. “Like, I don’t even want to bring my kids to the game because I don’t want them to hear people calling their dad nicknames and other names for no reason because he’s playing the game that he loves. And it’s gotten so bad where my family doesn’t even want to go to home games, to any game … and it’s just super unfortunate, man. And it’s super upsetting to me. Westbrook isn’t playing like the Westbrook that we know, and we admire. That’s ok because everyone goes through rough patches in the career and season. One bad season doesn’t define his career as he has done more than enough over the years to certify his place in the hall of fame.

In this day and age, where everyone gets caught up in the moment, we collectively need to calm down and assess things. Let me remind everyone of Westbrook’s resumé because it seems like people have forgotten how great of a player he is. He is a 9-time All-Star, 2008-2009 Rookie of the year, 2-time scoring champ, 2x All-Star MVP, 9-time All-NBA, 2016-17 NBA MVP, 3-time Assist champ, 9-time NBA player of Month, 19-time NBA player of the week and most significant, he is a member of the NBA 75th Anniversary team. After viewing these accomplishments, you are probably thinking, “Wow, that’s great.”  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Russell Westbrook and Oscar Robertson are the only players in NBA history to record a triple-double for an entire season. Russell Westbrook has averaged a triple-double for four of the past five years, which is insane! He is 12th all-time in total assists with 8,520 and just needs 4 more to move up to 11th all-time.  He joins LeBron James, and Oscar Robertson as the only 3 NBA players with 21,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, and 7,000 assists.  He has the first and only 35 points, 20 assist triple-double in NBA history.  This season, he is averaging 18.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 7.2 assists, which is really good, to say the least. It is almost a triple-double that he has been averaging for the four years.

To conclude, Russell Westbrook is a top 75 Greatest player ever. His basketball resume speaks for itself. This is undeniable at this point.  So, let’s not be prisoners of the moment and start disrespecting this man’s career just because he’s struggling with the Lakers. Half of the people that are criticizing him have never played the game of basketball, walked in an arena, or even stepped onto the court talking about his teammates and the load he must carry.