Warriors Steph Curry Defends Russell Westbrook: ‘I’m There for Him’

Russell Westbrook

Getty/Kevork Diansezian Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers shields the ball from Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.

For how magnificent it has been to watch Warriors superstar Steph Curry ascension to stardom, his NBA career did have humble beginnings just like most other stars. Drafted in the 2009 NBA Draft with the seventh pick, Curry’s stock then dropped mainly due to doubts he could stay durable over long grueling 82-game seasons.

Just a season prior to Curry, Russell Westbrook went through doubts of his own based mostly around how he was drafted too high (fourth overall), and if his game could translate to the NBA level.

Fast forward to 2022, both Curry and Westbrook have combined for 17 All-Star appearances, 3 MVPs, and 4 scoring champions. However, Westbrook’s inaugural season with his hometown Lakers has been an utter disappointment.

Westbrook is currently on pace to average 18.3 points—worse since his sophomore campaign—and 28.2% from three. Obviously, we all knew that his triple double averages and other crazy statistics were going to vanish since he would be sharing the ball with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but nobody could have predicted just how bad the fit has been.

The Lakers are currently 28-37, nine games under .500, and will probably have to win out in the play-in tournament just to scratch a playoff berth. This is drastically different from what pundits and fans expected going into the season.

Curry told Yahoo’s Chris Haynes of what he told Westbrook over the weekend, when the Warriors played the Lakers on March 5.

“I told him when we played them in L.A. a couple of days ago that I respect how he’s handled the whole year, just in terms of everything he’s been saying and how he’s been handling himself and protecting his family. It is the nature of the beast. And in a certain perspective, they build you up to break you down. The real ones who have done amazing things in this league know what that means. He’s a professional, and I’m proud of the way he’s conducting himself, and I’m there for him.”

The Warriors guard has always been known to be a class act and this proves again the type of character Curry is. Other players could easily trash talk Westbrook and chide him for his struggles this year, especially with the amount of trash talking Westbrook has done over his career.

Russell Westbrook gets ejected after trash talking entire Warriors Team!Russell Westbrook picked up his second technical of the game after trash talking the entire Warriors Team leading to his ejection Rockets vs Warriors 2-20-20 #nba #westbrook #sports2020-02-21T05:47:51Z

Unlike pundits and fans who have called Westbrook a hypocrite, Curry said it was vital for athletes to defend their names against criticism, fair or not.

“But at the end of the day, you have to do what you have to do to speak up for yourself and also understand that the guys that know what’s going on in this league respect the type of player he is. Russ definitely has my support.”

 Russell Westbrook Says Wife and Kids Stopped Coming to Games

Westbrook’s wife, Nina, has been more active on social media talking about death threats addressed to her family. It has happened in the past but now it was starting to affect the family’s mental health. Nina herself is a marriage and family therapist and has done TED talks in the past.

The constant hate and critic have gotten so bad that the family does not even come out to public Laker outings anymore.

After a game against the Spurs on March 7, Westbrook talked with the media and got super emotional regarding the criticism and hate that has come his way. 

“It affects them even going to games,” Westbrook tells the media. “Like, 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 that he loves. And it’s gotten so bad where my family don’t even want to go to home games, to any game … and it’s just super unfortunate, man. And it’s super upsetting to me.”

For Los Angeles natives like the Westbrook family, it must be depressing to hear the fans of a team they grew up rooting for to start booing them and sending death threats.

Westbrook Is Expected to Part Ways after the Season

 Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report previously reported that sources told him there was mutual interest in finding a new home for Westbrook next season. The former MVP is expected to opt into his $47 million player option and the Lakers are fully expected to shop him around or even waive him and stretch the player option to dividends over several years.

If Westbrook wants to continue to pad his numbers, he is best suited for subpar teams who need someone to carry the ball for most offensive possessions. What Westbrook was able to accomplish with the Wizards last season is something he could possibly duplicate with another team who needs stars.

Sadly, it is difficult to see Westbrook winning a title before his career concludes, because of his unwillingness to adapt like impacting the game without the ball. What has transpired with the Lakers this season will steer contending teams away from expressing interest in Westbrook’s services.

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