Russell Westbrook’s first season with the Los Angeles Lakers has been a bumpy road, as the 2017 NBA MVP has found himself under heavy criticism from fans and franchise legends due to L.A.’s disappointing results.
In recent weeks, some of that criticism became particularly vitriolic. Westbrook’s wife, Nina, recently came to the Lakers guard’s defense, calling out rouge fans and public figures for the shaming her husband has been receiving.
Also, Nina revealed she and her loved ones have been subjected to harassment and even death wishes “over basketball games.”
Lakers legend Magic Johnson called on the team’s fans to show support for Westbrook and his family, adding “threats and attacks” have no place in sports:
Laker Nation, it’s our responsibility to come together and support Russell Westbrook and his family. 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. @russwest44
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) March 8, 2022
Commenting on his wife’s words, Westbrook said the harassment his family has experienced over the years has reached the point where “it’s really weighing” on his loved ones.
“And it’s very unfortunate just for me personally because this is just a game,” he added.
Westbrook wants disrespectful name-calling to stop
Even though Westbrook tolerated the name-calling in the past, the 33-year-old said he wants the disrespectful behavior to stop.
“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,” he said.
“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.”