Russell Westbrook has been the subject of intense criticism this season. The former MVP has been playing very poorly, and a lot of fans and analysts have called him out on it. In fact, some have even mocked him and called him names, with 'Westbrick' becoming a popular choice for people trying to take aim at Westbrook.
But last night, Russell Westbrook announced that he would no longer allow it. Speaking during the post-game press conference, Russell Westbrook noted how much his kids love their last name, and as a result, he would no longer allow fans and personalities in the media to disrespect his name, using 'Westbrick' as an example (0:43 onwards in video 1 till 1:08 in the second video).
“I think, for one, 100% stand behind my wife and how she’s feeling because it’s not about just this year. Right now, she’s reached a point and my family has reached a point where it’s really weighing on them and its very unfortunate just for me personally because this is just a game. This not end all be all. When it comes to basketball, I don’t mind the criticism of missing and making shot. But the moment it becomes where my name is getting shamed, it becomes an issue. I’ve kind of let it go in the past because it never really bothered me."
"It really hit me the other day. Me and wife were at the teacher-parent conference for my son. And the teacher told me, Noah is so proud of his last name, he writes it everywhere, he tells everyone ‘I’m Westbrook’… I kind of sat there in shock and it hit me. I can’t no longer allow people, for example, Westbrick to me is now shaming, shaming my name and my legacy for my kid. It’s a name that means more to me, my wife, my mom, my dad, the ones that paved the way for me."
"That’s just one example myself and my wife where its not great and I think a lot of times, I let it slide, but now its time to put a stop to that, and put it on notice, there’s a difference. Every time I hear it now, I will make sure I address it and nip that in the bud… It’s very unfortunate, it’s been like this for my entire career. I’ve been blessed and super thankful for the ones around me and the ones that support me but it’s really the shaming of my name, the shaming of my character, the shaming of who am I as a person, is to me, not warranted. I haven’t done anything to anyone, I haven’t hurt anyone. I’ve done nothing but play basketball a way that people may not like. And this is just a game. This not my entire life. I think that is the ultimate thing that’s been for me…"
Westbrook clearly thinks the kind of criticism he has been on the receiving end of has been unnecessary and over the top. And basketball is important to him, but it is not the only important thing. So him drawing the line for fans and analysts is not at all surprising.
Westbrook also addressed the recent spat his wife Nina had online with Skip Bayless, noting that the criticism from fans has started to affect his family. The move to the Lakers has not worked out the way Russ had hoped. But maybe he can help fix that by winning over the fans with a solid run. While it is unlikely, it is not impossible.