Not only did the Los Angeles Lakers get an athletic 2017 NBA MVP in Russell Westbrook when they traded for the guard in the summer, but also a big personality who evokes all range of emotions.
Born in Long Beach, Calif., Westbrook always wanted to play for the Lakers. Since the 2021-22 games started, he has also shown off his excitement over donning the Purple and Gold on the floor.
Recently, his zeal manifested itself in the form of a random crip walk at the beginning of the fourth quarter during the 113-101 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With just under 10 minutes left in the game, L.A. held a slender four-point lead over the Cavaliers after trailing the visitors for the majority of the clash. But the pressure didn’t stop Westbrook from breaking into a midcourt crip walk as he dribbled the ball up the floor.
“I mean, I’ve done it probably a few times in Oklahoma. But literally like when you from L.A., certain music, certain tunes just kind of hit you differently,” Westbrook explained, asked about his dance.
“You’re like, I don’t know, all I heard was the music and I was like ‘oh, that’s my joy right here!’ That’s just how it works with me, I love to dance, that’s something that I kind of enjoy doing, kind of happened in the middle of the game, but enjoying it.”
Westbrook added the spontaneity helps him stay locked in on his goals for the game.
“I always remember like throughout a season and throughout a game, you always want to make sure you’re having fun bause if you’re not, it’s kind of becomes for me personally, if I get super focused and just not having enough fun, then I lose track of kind of what I’m supposed to be doing,” he said.
“So that also is a combination of all like just having some fun, smiling and enjoying it.”
Westbrook added he is aware that not everyone might be fond of the way he expresses himself on and off the court. However, the 32-year-old guard said his Lakers teammates were comfortable with the mid-game dance, understanding that he was just being himself at that moment.
Although not all of them noticed Westbrook’s crip walking straightaway and only pointed it out after the game.
“And I was like, ‘yeah, we needed it,’” Westbrook said.
Westbrook: Lakers teammates ‘getting a better idea just who I am’
Although many questioned how good a fit Westbrook was on the Lakers, very few people worried about his loyalty and commitment to L.A.
New teammates including DeAndre Jordan, Rajon Rondo, and Kent Bazemore, among others, publicly said they looked forward to sharing the floor with the nine-time All-Star. And after weeks of training together, Westbrook says his Lakers family is starting to understand his complex personality.
“Yeah, I think they’re getting a better idea just who I am and kind of what’s important to me,” he said.
“And that’s just wanting and making sure that I bring good energy and good spirits each and every day, regardless of kind of what’s going on. Because us as athletes, as men, we all have a lot going on in our lives because coaches and staff from top to bottom got different things than we all may have kind of.
“So I just feel like it’s my duty to make sure I bring in positive and good energy to the guys, and that’s a part of my job.”
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