The fine line between constructively criticizing and offending a player is thin. A prime example of this was shown throughout last season when Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook was consistently hated on for having a disappointing year.
The nickname ‘Westbrick’ was popularly used throughout the NBA community and sports media to humorously describe the poor shooting performance of Westbrook. Even though he shot 29.8 percent from 3-point range last season, the nickname to talk about his inefficiency from the perimeter got out of hand quickly.
Towards the end of last season, Westbrook stood behind his wife, Nina Westbrook, after she tweeted about how the name-calling and public shaming of her husband had an effect on their family as being “harassed on a daily basis”. The ‘Westbrick’ movement went too far, and it was time for the media and fans to end it.
When talking about how Lakers rookie, Max Christie, will fit with the team, Fox’s Skip Bayless used it an an opportunity to take another shot at Westbrook, drawing a response on social media from the Lakers point guard:
Yoooo… watch your mouth. Don’t say anything here you wouldn’t say to my face. https://t.co/0u8nFXYLY8
— Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) June 25, 2022
Westbrook’s wife Nina also once again came to her husband’s defense:
It’s very disheartening that you would choose to continue to shame my family name. Today was a really sad day my daughters and me. The fact that you can’t respect a simple request not to try to tarnish my family name is saddening and such a pile on. It’s extremely hurtful.
— Nina Westbrook (@ninawestbrook) June 25, 2022
Discussing the lack of perimeter shooting the Lakers currently have is one thing, but for Bayless to once again bring up a nickname and shaming technique that Westbrook and his wife have requested to be stopped is unprofessional.
The nine-time NBA All-Star has been under enough scrutiny since he first suited up for the purple and gold so his decision to stand up for himself and the potential backlash that will continue if he does decide to stay in Los Angeles should be expected.
With Westbrook reportedly expected to opt-in his $47.1 million player option, he has a chance to prove the doubters wrong by working together with new Lakers head coach Darvin Ham to craft a system around him, LeBron James and Anthony Davis to get back in playoff contention.
Lakers will Welcome Westbrook if player option is picked up
The chatter of the Lakers trading away Westbrook has been on the minds of fans since last season’s trade deadline. With the decision to opt-in or out of the $47.1 million player option looming, Westbrook has until June 29 to make a choice, which will likely be opting in.
With that being the case, Rob Pelinka stated how if Westbrook does pick up his player option, the Lakers will welcome him back with open arms.
While the speculation of trade rumors with the two-time NBA scoring champion will remain, giving him a second chance with Ham, who will maximize him on the defensive end, is something the Lakers faithful should consider.
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