Russell Westbrook is one of the more dynamic players in the NBA. He and Kevin Durant present one of the most formidable duos in the league today. But we all know that Durant is the more heralded star of the Thunder and, in fact, the NBA seems to position Durant as one of the faces of the league.
But Westbrook does fine on his own. He’s averaging 22.4 points per game this season and a career-high 8.3 assists per contest. While everyone thought the Thunder would get worse without James Harden’s playmaking (who was traded to Houston before the season), Westbrook’s continued improvement (along with Durant’s fantastic game) has propelled the Thunder to the best record in the league at 31-8.
Westbrook is a bonafide NBA star on and off the court. He made his presence known at press conferences after playoff games by wearing really colorful shirts and glasses with no lens.
Lang Whitaker talked to Westbrook about various topics for GQ Magazine.
GQ: The way you play point guard is pretty unique in the NBA, or at least unique in terms of what historically has been thought of from a point guard. Did you realize that coming up? Did you know you played a style all your own?
Russell Westbrook: Definitely. I was always wilder and fast, and on the floor I always kind of played out of control when I was younger. So I knew I played the position differently than everybody else did. But they didn’t make me feel different about it.
The way I look at this is that Westbrook is a tireless attacker. This is simply by design by the Thunder. It would force teams to zero in on Westbrook and it would open up the floor for everyone else. It’s not unusual at all for Westbrook to be on this mode for the first three quarters before Kevin Durant finishes off the games. It’s not for everybody but it seems to work for the Thunder.
Whitaker then talked NBA Finals.
GQ: Last season you guys get to the Finals and you lose. Your team always seems to learn to learn lessons and apply them. So what do you take from losing in the Finals?
Russell Westbrook: Aw man, it’s tough man. When you make it that far, when you get that close to winning, it’s kind of tough to get ready for the next year. But we took a lot from it. Every play in the Finals is very important, every possession is important. Everybody stepped their game up a notch.
Westbrook scored 43 points in Game 4 of the 2012 NBA Finals but also made a critical error by fouling the Heat when they still had a chance to get the ball back and possibly win the game. I’m sure that this young squad (yes, they are) will continue to be more aware of the game surroundings. Westbrook making that error was one of the more heartbreaking moments for the Thunder in the Finals.
Oh, yeah. About Westbrook’s fashion choices.
GQ: When you wear those glasses, do they have lenses in them or no?
Russell Westbrook: No, no, nine times out of ten, no. Some of them do, but not most of them, no.
Yeah, I wear glasses because I need them. Yes, with lenses. But, hey, who am I to judge what people wear, right? If Westbrook can pull that off, more power to him.
GQ and Westbrook also go over former teammate Harden, who his favorite player was, and more fashion stuff, among many topics. It’s a nice interview of Westbrook and, hopefully, makes you learn more about the man and his madness about fashion.