American sports have become extremely focused on championships above all else, with the NBA being perhaps the best example. Years and years of Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James debates have whittled so many legacies down to titles over everything else, which makes James’ new teammate Russell Westbrook‘s answer to a recent question very refreshing.
Westbrook was introduced as the newest Los Angeles Laker today, completing a “Big Three” with LeBron and Anthony Davis. The clear goal is to win a second championship, after the LeBron-led Lakers took home the title in the bubble in 2020. While Westbrook would certainly like to bring another title to his hometown, it is not his first priority, nor is “proving himself” on the court going forward.
During his introductory press conference, Westbrook was asked if he believed he had anything left to prove. His answer: “No, I don’t.”
“I’ve been blessed and thankful to be in this league this long, and lucky to be able to play and be healthy,” Westbrook said. “When I got drafted in the NBA, that was me proving people wrong… When I went to UCLA from the inner-city, that was me proving people wrong. Just making it out the ‘hood was proving people wrong. I don’t need to do that anymore.”
Russell Westbrook was asked whether he has anything left to prove.
His answer: pic.twitter.com/ssUDwT11LS
— ESPN (@espn) August 10, 2021
Westbrook says that his main concern is to continue to have an impact on his community. That is the “ultimate goal,” even ahead of winning an NBA title.
“I’ve been able to bless the people around me, my family, been able to impact people across the world with this platform that’s been given to me, and I continue to do that. Obviously I want to win a championship, but the ultimate goal is to make sure we use what we have to impact those around you.”
By any metric, Russell Westbrook doesn’t have a ton to prove. He has holes in his game, but he has the 2017 MVP Award, nine All-Star selections and nine total All-NBA selections, two scoring titles, and three assist titles under his belt. A championship will bolster things for sure, but it is good that Russ isn’t living his entire life in pursuit of that one accomplishment.
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