The Los Angeles Lakers as a whole have come under a ton of criticism for their disappointing season, but without a doubt, the player who has come under the most fire is Russell Westbrook. The Lakers’ point guard has struggled to find his role on the team and with the subpar performances has come attacks from the fans.
While most fans are able to keep their criticisms confined to on-court issues, there are always those who cross the line and for Westbrook, it has reached the point where his wife Nina took to Twitter to discuss what they have been subjected to.
Following the Lakers’ contest against the Spurs, Westbrook opened up about his issues with the criticisms and how important his name is to him and his family.
“I think, for one, I 100% stand behind my wife and how she’s feeling because it’s not just about this year,” Westbrook said. “Right now, she’s reached a point and my family has reached a point to where it’s really weighing on them and it’s very unfortunate just for me personally because this is just a game. This is not the end-all, be-all and when it comes to basketball, I don’t mind the criticism of missing and making shots, but the moment where it becomes my name getting shames, it becomes an issue […] Me and my wife were at a teacher-parent conference for my son and the teacher told me, she’s like ‘Noah, he’s so proud of his last name, he writes it everywhere, he writes it on everything, he tells everybody and walks around and says I’m Westbrook, that’s his last name.’
“I kind of sat there in shock and it hit me like damn, I can no longer allow people, for example, Westbrick to me is now shaming, like it’s shaming my name, my legacy for my kids. It’s a name that means more not just to me, but to my wife, to my mom, my dad are the ones that kind of paved the way for me and that’s just one example. That kind of hit myself and my wife in a place where it’s not great and I think a lot of times I let it slide, but it’s now time to put a stop to that and put it on notice.”
It’s hard to argue with what Westbrook says, especially when it comes to his children. While things may not bother him too much, it becomes completely different when it affects kids. A name means a lot and to have that tarnished with your kids having to carry that on is not something anyone wants to pass down.
Westbrook would continue on, even noting about how it makes him not want his family to come to games. “It’s very unfortunate. It’s been like this for my entire career,” the Lakers guard added. “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 I am as a person, to me is not warranted. I haven’t done anything to anybody, I haven’t hurt anyone, I haven’t done anything but play basketball a way that people may not like.
“This is just a game, this is not my entire life and I think that is the ultimate things it’s been for me and I don’t like to harp on that, it’s kind of one ear and out the other, but once it starts to affect my family, my wife, even today, my mom said something about it today. It affects them even going to games. I don’t even want to bring my kids to the game because I don’t want them to hear people calling their dad nicknames and other names for no reason because he’s playing the game he loves and it’s gotten so bad where my family doesn’t even want to go to home games, to any games because of not just the media across the globe using their platforms to constantly shame shame shame me, it’s just super unfortunate.”
Because these athletes do such superhuman things, it’s easy to forget sometimes that these are human beings who are affected. No matter how bad a player is performing, getting their families involved is something that should never happen and unfortunately, social media has made it easier for people to make these threats without fear of repercussion.
No matter what happens on the court, family is always the most important thing and Westbrook will not stand for the disrespect towards them, as no athlete should.
Westbrook discusses what he can learn from LeBron James
As far as on the court, Westbrook is still figuring out the best way to produce for the Lakers. Being around LeBron James is something he doesn’t take for granted and Westbrook believes he can learn a lot about being productive at an older age from LeBron.
“Just being around daily and seeing him be locked in, he’s playing at a level that people don’t really expect him to play at at his age, and to see it first-hand is something I can learn from as I continue to get older in this league,” he said.
“Find ways to be able to be effective, and not just that, he’s one of the best of all time and he’s showing exactly why he’s that year after that, he keeps proving other people wrong.”