Russell Westbrook’s journey with the Los Angeles Lakers has turned very sour recently — reaching the point when his wife, Nina, spoke out against the bullying of the 33-year-old guard.
Addressing his partner’s comments, Westbrook said the harassment he and his family experienced has started to weigh on his wife and children. The 2017 NBA MVP added he wants the name-calling to stop, saying twisting his name to shame him also hurts his loved ones.
Head coach Frank Vogel has come to Westbrook’s defense, saying the abuse toward the Lakers guard is a “great concern” and needs to be handled appropriately.
“Support. It’s just support,” Vogel said. “He’s an important player for us. He’s a part of our family. Anytime a player is feeling any type of impact at home with his family, that’s of great concern and should be handled with care. And I hope people can respect what he had to say postgame the other night because it should never come to that.”
Vogel and Westbrook appeared to be at odds over the guard’s production in certain games, leading to the former Oklahoma City Thunder star’s benching in crunch time. But just like Westbrook, the head coach draws a line between constructive, basketball-related criticism and bullying of a player and his family in real life.
“It’s the game of basketball, there’s always going to be criticisms. But with this case, he’s referring to his family name and I hope people can respect that. But from our standpoint, he’s a part of our family and you just offer to support him in every way you can.”
Magic Johnson calls on Lakers fans to support and respect Westbrook and his family
Lakers legend Magic Johnson joined in voicing his support for Westbrook, calling on L.A.’s fans to respect and support the guard and his family.
“It’s our responsibility to come together and support Russell Westbrook and his family,” Johnson tweeted. “Threats and attacks on the Westbrook family are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. There’s no place in sports for this type of behavior, period.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!