There have not been many more scrutinized and polarizing players in NBA history than Russell Westbrook. The electric point guard is known for his triple-double achievements, stat chasing, exciting highlights, fierce mentality, and eccentric fashion style. But winning and championships are not usually associated with Westbrook. Does that mean he is not a winner?
ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith recently talked about Westbrook after his monster game vs. Indiana in which he scored 25 points, along with 21 assists and 14 rebounds, as he said those numbers mean nothing to him.
Westbrook usually doesn't like to respond to critics, but in this instance, he decided to defend his legacy in response to Stephen A. Smith.
“A championship don't change my life. I'm happy. I was a champion once I made it to the NBA. I grew up in the streets. I'm a champion.”
Russell Westbrook gave a 2-and-a-half minute answer in response to a question about @stephenasmith’s comments on First Take: “A championship don't change my life. I'm happy. I was a champion once I made it to the NBA. I grew up in the streets. I'm a champion.”
Full quote here: pic.twitter.com/wcceIzqQlg
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) March 31, 2021
Smith has a point in criticizing Westbrook for not winning enough. The Wizards have been pretty disappointing this season with a 17-29 record. The numerous early playoffs exits in his career don't help his case, especially on teams he was the clear no.1. But to say Westbrook's numbers and game don't mean anything is a bit harsh.
Brodie made an excellent case for himself in his statement, showing he is satisfied with his legacy and achievements with or without a championship on his resume. You may or may not like Westbrook's style of play, but you can't deny he is one of the rare players that never took a day off. The constant energy and dedication every second his on an NBA court are a rare sight to see in today's NBA and deserve a lot of respect and credit. That has been Westbrook's calling card for years, leading to numerous amazing sequences and plays.
But that style of play also led to many terrible shots and turnovers that cost Westbrook's teams numerous wins. His style isn't the fundamental winning style of playing basketball, but rather chaos that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. That is who he is and how he plays. If at the end of the day, Westbrook is satisfied and happy with how he plays, that is all that matters.