Russell Westbrook may very well be one of the most underappreciated stars of the modern generation.
Despite his amazing performances and the effort he puts forth every night, Russ gets a lot more hate and criticism than he does proper media coverage.
In a chat with David Aldridge of The Athletic, Lakers legend Magic Johnson expressed the same idea, telling Aldridge that we should pay more attention to what he's been doing...
“When we show highlights, it’s how many points somebody had, how far can they shoot out on the court. Russell Westbrook is neither one of those things. He gets all these triple-doubles, but you don’t see him on the highlights.
We’re seeing guys who get 50 or 60 (points), or 45, or who had eight 3-pointers. But we didn’t appreciate and show him getting … I mean, the other night, you get, I think it was 20 boards? People have played 13 years, 15 years, and never get 20 rebounds. Same with assists. I know I got 24 a lot, but for him to get 24, there’s guards who’s played who would never get even 20 (assists). The things he’s been able to do, hopefully, we will say, ‘Give him his love, give him his respect.’ This is really big. This is something I couldn’t even do. I know how big it is.”
Russ isn't a typical modern-day guard. Instead of focusing his efforts on shooting and scoring, he does impacts the game in many different ways, including on the boards and with assists.
Unfortunately, Russ has yet to prove his style of play can win a ring, but it doesn't mean we can't appreciate what he's been doing.
Being so active, and constantly putting up triple-doubles, is no easy feat. If Magic Johnson (who is arguably the greatest point guard ever) can acknowledge that, why can't we?