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. 

Shaquille O’Neal speaking on the Ime Udoka scandal - “I was a serial cheater…I did it. I was the best at it”

Shaquille O’Neal speaking on the Ime Udoka scandal -“I was a serial cheater…I did it. I was the best at it”

O'Neal labeled himself as a serial cheater and explained how his foolish actions from earlier in his life ended up being one of the worst decisions he made

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, guard Jrue Holiday, and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks to host youth programs as part of the NBA Abu Dhabi Games

Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks will be the first NBA teams to play in Abu Dhabi

Phoenix Suns' forward Jae Crowder defending Chicago Bulls' star DeMar DeRozan

Can the Chicago Bulls make a trade for disgruntled Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder?

Find out if the Chicago Bulls can acquire disgruntled Phoenix Suns small forward, Jae Crowder.

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan with Lonzo Ball

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan bracing for the entire season without Lonzo Ball

The Bulls are preparing themselves to be competitive while they wait on the health of starting guard Lonzo Ball. Here's what their head coach had to say about the matter.

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd

"You can't say, 'This is the way I would do it'" — Jason Kidd explains why he never forced his players to emulate his playing style

Kidd's experience on the Lakers coaching staff has proven to be extrememly valuable in his evolution as a coach.

Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon

Greg Anthony singles out the most underrated part of Hakeem Olajuwon's on-court skillset

Everyone praises Hakeem's footwork. Greg Anthony praised his God-given instincts for the game.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham and general manager Rob Pelinka

How the Los Angeles Lakers could take advantage of the NBA's new rule

The new NBA rule could benefit the Lakers if they implement a run-and-gun system.