The post is a picture of himself in his Lakers uniform, captioned “1 of 1,” and featuring audio of the late rapper Nipsey Hussle.
“I learned when I was younger, like, you can’t put your expectations of me on me,” Hussle said in the video. “I’m me. You feel me? And you not gon ever make me feel bad for it. You not gon, you know, make me react to how you reacting to me. I don’t care. I’m me. If part of who I am, you know, is disrespectful or is, you know, crossing the line of like basic things, I’ma check myself. But, you know, we all are individuals. So for you to think my balance or my ratio, I’m too this or too that and I ain’t got enough of this or enough of that, that’s all love. Just keep it to yourself.”
Several NBA players reacted to Westbrook’s powerful post, including Lakers superstar LeBron James. The King is currently on vacation with his family, but he took time out of his day to support Westbrook, who struggled on and off the court during the 2021-22 season.
James and Westbrook are friends, which is why the former urged the Lakers to trade for the latter last summer. Unfortunately, Westbrook wasn’t a good fit next to James on the basketball court.
Westbrook Struggled with Lakers
Westbrook appeared in 78 games for the Lakers this season. The nine-time All-Star averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists while shooting 44.4% from the floor, 29.8% from beyond the arc and 66.7% from the free-throw line.
Westbrook was second in the NBA in turnovers and his lack of shooting skills made him a poor fit next to James and Anthony Davis. A California native, Westbrook had an effective field goal percentage of 47.6%. That was sixth-worst in the NBA. He air-balled and bricked so many shots in his first season with the Lakers that fans started calling him “Russell Westbrick.”
The “Westbrick” taunts affected Westbrook, so much so that he told his wife and kids to stop coming to home games.
“It affects them even going to games,” Westbrook said about the Westbrick taunts. “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.”
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Lakers and Westbrook have mutual interest in parting ways this offseason. James conducted his end-of-the-season press conference on April 11 and the four-time Finals MVP was asked to talk about what it was like playing with Westbrook, who finished the season with a grueling plus-minus of -211.
James on Westbrook
James is a smart guy. He’s not going to publicly bash Westbrook during a media session, which is why LBJ praised Russ on April 11.
“One thing about Russ that I love and will always love is just his competitive spirit, what he brings to the game every single night,” James said about Westbrook. “When you’re in a profession where so many injuries happen and so many things go on, to have a guy that’s reliable and can put on the uniform every single night, that’s something that I respect out of everything. I’m not gonna sit here and make decisions for the front office and things of that nature, but I love being a teammate with Russ and that’s just the way it is.”
Westbrook has a player option worth $47,063,478 for next season and he’s expected to pick it up. Whether he’s on the Lakers again will be up to Los Angeles’ front office.