Stephen A. Smith criticized Wizard’s guard Russell Westbrook’s ringless fingers and near non-existent 3-point game. This came surprisingly after the former league MVP dropped yet again another triple-double of 35 points, 21 assists, and 14 rebounds. Read that again. I believe the 32-year-old point-guard’s ability to dish 21 dimes and snatch 14 boards is borderline comical and deserves WAY more respect. Stephen A, however, doesn’t agree with me. Stephen A doesn’t seem to care at all, per his comments on ESPN’s First Take. And Russell Westbrook’s response to those comments paint a much bigger picture.
“Westbrook’s numbers last night mean absolutely nothing to me, because, even though that’s great numbers, that’s what Westbrook can do. We all know this,” Smith said. “He’s a former league MVP. He’s the most athletic point guard we have ever seen in NBA History.” Smith then went on to name the superstar teammates Westbrook played with in the past and scrutinized his inability to win a championship.
‘I was a champion once I made it to the NBA.’
Russell Westbrook’s response made it clear that his legacy is bigger than basketball. “I sit back, I don’t say much. I don’t like to go back and forth about people,” Westbrook said. “But one thing I won’t allow to happen anymore is let people create narratives and constantly talking s**t for no reason about me because I lay it on the line every night. And I use my platform to be able to help people all across the world.”
Westbrook continued, “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. I don’t have to be an NBA champion.”
Russell Westbrook’s response involuntarily addresses the ring-or-die mentality that has fueled the formation of super teams (cough, Nets, cough cough). It also grounds what we perceive as successful, not just in competition, but in life as well.