Russell Westbrook responding to Stephen A. Smith: I’ve been playing basketball my whole life. Like my wife mentioned, it’s important that you don’t let people deter you from your goal, deter you from your plan, deter you from the things that you have as destiny in this world. The prime example is, I watch these college games, and I watch these kids and these announcers, man, they get on TV and just say anything about a kid. They don’t even know him. They don’t know his family. They don’t know where he’s from. They don’t know what he’s been through. They don’t know his troubles. They don’t know his pain. They don’t know anything about the kid, but one thing said on TV can determine how you perceive this kid on TV, which will allow him to be able to reach his goals, which will allow him not to be able to get drafted, which will allow him not to take care of his family, which will now not create generational wealthy, which now makes our people and the minorities, underserved communities. This is way bigger than basketball. That’s my entire life focus. My wife, that’s what she’s mentioning because we talk about it all the time. I sit back. I don’t say much. I don’t say I don’t like to go back and forth about people, but one thing I won’t happen anymore is to let people create narratives and constantly just talking sh*t for no reason about me, because I lay it on the line every night. I use my platform to be able to help people all across the world. Nobody can take that away from me. I’ve been blessed to be able to have a platform to do it, and like I said before, a championship don’t change my life. I’m happy. I was a champion once I made it to the NBA. I grew up in the streets. I’m a champion. I don’t have to be an NBA champion. I know many people that got NBA championships that’s miserable, haven’t done nothing for their community, haven’t done nothing for the people in our world. And for me, man, my legacy, like I mentioned before, is not based on what I do on this court. I’m not gonna play basketball my whole life. My legacy is what I do off the floor, how many people I’m able to impact and inspire along my journey, man. That’s how I keep my head down and keep pushing because it’s very important that you don’t let the negativity seep in, because it’s been like that my whole career, honestly. There’s no other player that kinda take the heat that I take constantly. But I take it as a positive because obviously, I'm doing something right if people are talking about me. And that’s how I feel.”
Russell Westbrook and his wife Nina took great offense to a recent take ESPN host Stephen A. Smith had about how Westbrook’s gaudy 35-point, 21-rebound, 14-assist game vs. the Pacers on Tuesday night ‘didn’t mean anything to me’, because it was another classic example of empty numbers for a player who has zero championship pedigree.
Stephen A. brought up Westbrook’s history of playing with some of the best players of the era including Kevin Durant, James Harden, Paul George, Victor Oladipo, and Bradley Beal, and yet he keeps bouncing around, hasn’t played in an NBA Finals in almost a decade, and now plays on a flatlining Wizards team 12 games under. 500.
Westbrook didn’t specifically mention Stephen A. by name during his over two-minute monologue with the media on Wednesday but his wife certainly did, posting a story on her Instagram saying “@stephenasmith: I don’t know how many times I have to be minding my own business and randomly be subjected to you slandering my husband (who also happens to be minding his own business, being happy, and living his best life). Leave us alone. We don’t want to play anymore (although we never asked to play). Exit ride. Hard pass. However, you want to receive it. There you go.”
Smith acknowledged both Russell and Nina and had this to say:
The 32-year-old Westbrook is averaging 21.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 10.6 assists for the season, and is looking to finish his fourth season in five years averaging a triple-double for the year.