Skip to main content

Russell Westbrook gets to the root of the Los Angeles Lakers' struggles: "I was never given a fair chance to be me"

Russell Westbrook expected LeBron James and Anthony Davis to adjust their playstyles upon his arrival. But things didn't pan out accordingly.
Russell Westbrook gets to the root of the Lakers' struggles: "I was never given a fair chance to be me"

Russell Westbrook reflected on the Lakers season at his exit interview

After dealing with his fair share of criticisms, Russell Westbrook has finally shared his side of the story. From his point of view, he's not entirely to blame for his and the Los Angeles Lakers' struggles all season long. For Westbrook, he was never given the keys to play his own game.

Let me be myself

In the Lakers' exit interview, Westbrook got to the heart of what he feels is the reason behind his team's struggles. To recall, Westbrook was acquired in a massive deal from Washington. LeBron James reportedly wanted a playmaker to take off some of the offensive load. From the looks of it, this was what was communicated to Westbrook, which ultimately made him agree. But as he would later find out, there was no precise adjustment to accommodate his play style.

"I just felt like I was never given a fair chance to be who I needed to be to help this team," Westbrook said, per the Southern California News Group.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

This was the tune fans, and analysts were singing the moment the Lakers acquired the former league MVP. Fans knew that for a James team to succeed, he needed decent shooters around him. Westbrook never really puts fear in defenders' eyes when he is behind the 3-point line.

Meanwhile, James didn't make ample adjustments to give Westbrook free reign. He was still doing his own thing — orchestrating the offense and doing pretty much everything else. So while people were singing praises for the 37-year-old LeBron, Westbrook was being slammed by critics.

Off-court issues

In fact, Westbrook noted that these off-court issues, particularly false articles from the media, were also part of the problem. Some stories claimed that Westbrook wasn't seeing eye-to-eye with Vogel and his staff. California native refuted this claim and even said he gifted Vogel and his wife a bottle of champagne for their anniversary.

"There's just so many made-up stories that are not true... That's part of not getting a fair chance. Like 'OK, now I have to fight against this made-up story," Westbrook said, per SB Nation.

Westbrook didn't mention it in the exit interview, but Lakers fans continuously heckled Westbrook in person and on social media. It even got to the point that his family didn't attend Lakers games to avoid hearing slanders. What was tagged as a grand homecoming for Westbrook turned into a living nightmare for his career and personal life.

Westbrook has a $47 million player option for next season — a decision he hasn't given much thought to yet. Whatever the case may be, there are loud signs that the Lakers will part ways with the former MVP. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo offers a stern warning to the rest of the NBA amid another strong season - "Do I think I'm better this year? One hundred percent. Do I believe I've shown it? No."

Antetokounmpo believes that he is an improved player from last season, but frighteningly enough, he doesn't believe that he has shown his improvements this season

Ja Morant

Ja Morant speaks on his confrontation with Andrew Nembhard in the Memphis Grizzlies' latest win -“I checked his temperature. He didn’t have a fever”

Morant stepped in when Nembhard told his dad, Tee Morant, to shut up, and quickly put Nembhard in his place by telling him he wasn't hot enough to have a fever

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo, the humblest superstar, talks about his cheapness and the number one thing he spends his money on

Giannis Antetokounmpo reflects on being called cheap and the number one thing he spends his money on

Zach Randolph

“I learned everything like a soldier” - Zach Randolph recalls his first years playing alongside Scottie Pippen and Rasheed Wallace

Zach Randolph talks about the humble beginnings of his career, as well as how playing alongside NBA's greats Scottie Pippen and Rasheed Wallace helped him develop into the player he became

Tracy McGrady

"I don’t broadcast that, I don’t show that off a lot" - Tracy McGrady on his low-key AAU program

T-Mac's program has a perk which teaches his pupils about the reality of life

Rick Barry

“Do you know how much better I would be if I was playing today?” - Rick Barry once explained why he would’ve thrived in this era

A longtime coach likened Barry to Luka recently to show a modern-day comparison for the Warriors legend.

Reggie Miller

“When people say they don’t regret it, they’re lying” - Reggie Miller once revealed not winning a ring “burns” him

Miller also opted to remain loyal with the Pacers instead of chasing a ring with the Celtics in 2007.