Speaking to the media ahead of Friday’s matchup against New Orleans, Russell Westbrook spoke once again on the overwhelming outpour of hate and criticism he has received since the season began in October.
Instead of finding someone to blame or taking some jabs at the critics, he simply brushed off their importance by reminding the world of his priorities.
“My family is my foundation,” Westbrook told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “My faith is my No. 1 foundation, and I lean on that. And anything outside of that can never waver me because I got so much confidence in those two things that regardless of whatever may come my way, I know I’m able to achieve and show people that regardless of the situation, you can make it out of this. That was really important to me.”
Thanks to relatively poor numbers, Westbrook has been the scapegoat for the Lakers this season, who are sitting 14 games under .500.
Unsurprisingly, this isn’t the first time has had to address the haters and not the first time he has had to answer for his struggles. Over the past few months, he has had to explain how he'll fit next to his co-stars and has even been forced to outright refuse any regrets about joining the Purple and Gold.
“I swear, nobody can imagine it for me because everybody thinks about basketball as the end-all-be-all, but it’s really not, you know?” he continued. “Sportswriters, everybody’s got their own opinion. But I really believe that me being able to do (be in LA) and embrace my kids, it makes them — it puts a smile on my face regardless of what’s happening now.”
“No,” he said when asked if he had any regrets about the move. “Nah. I mean, not at all, because — like I told you — it’s bigger than basketball for me.”
This season, Russ is averaging 18.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game on just 44% shooting and 29% shooting from downtown.
While his tenure, and the season as a whole, have been a failure so far, there is reason to be hopeful for better days ahead.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are set to return from injury on Friday night, and their good health could be all the Lakers need to keep their play-in spot.
Either way, these next few weeks will be a huge opportunity for Westbrook to redeem himself and remind the world why he was named a Top 75 player.