Russell Westbrook was born and raised in Long Beach, California. He had a close relationship with Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant before the Black Mamba passed away in January 2020.
Westbrook and Bryant talked about the former possibly coming home and playing for the Lakers several times before the latter’s untimely death, which is why Westbrook was honored when the purple and gold traded for him.
“You come in here, and you see, you know, you look up at the practice facility, you see 8 and 24, and I know he’s looking down and making sure that I need to do what I need to do,” Westbrook said at Lakers media day. “That’s the only thing I can think about is knowing putting this uniform on, understanding the impact that I can have on being home and being a Laker and creating a legacy, not just for myself, but for my kids, for the community of Los Angeles, for the people here and imma make sure I just do my part and going out and playing for him and through him as I compete in this uniform.”
Since Westbrook grew up a Lakers and Bryant fan and already had a rapport with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, he was projected to have a stellar campaign in Los Angeles. However, the NBA’s all-time leader in triple-doubles is having a dreadful season back home and Lakers fans haven’t been shy to let Westbrook know how frustrated they are with him.
Lakers Fans Have Booed Westbrook at Home
During the Lakers’ blowout loss at home to the New Orleans Pelicans on February 27, Westbrook finished with 16 points, six rebounds, one assist and seven turnovers. The nine-time All-Star, as well as the rest of his teammates, was booed by Lakers fans and he didn’t mince words during his postgame media session with reporters about the boos.
“I got three beautiful kids at my house,” Westbrook said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “Why would I take it home? If they boo, they can take their ass home. I ain’t worried about that. It doesn’t bother me none. I can only answer if I take them home: No. But as for our team, I don’t think it’s something we got to deal with. And kind of move forward.”
Westbrook has been booed several times at home this season. His homecoming hasn’t gone well and the Lakers are well on their way to one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history given how much talent is on the roster.
The Lakers will look to snap their two-game losing streak against the surging Dallas Mavericks next, which won’t be easy since the Mavericks are 36-25. For Westbrook and Co. to get a win, they have to play hard for 48 minutes and protect the ball.
That’s easier said than done, though, for this club.
Westbrook: Teams Are Playing Harder Than Us
Westbrook said teams are playing harder than the Lakers, who are in ninth place in the Western Conference standings and only 2.5 games ahead of the Pelicans.
“Teams are coming in, playing harder, and I believe that’s kind of their scouting report: Just play harder than them and see what happens,” Westbrook said, via ESPN. “And it’s working. Until we determine and have the determination that we’re not going to allow it, especially on our home floor, it will continue to happen to us.”
Westbrook and his teammates will likely continue to get booed at home if they don’t start playing better. While the UCLA product cares about winning and turning the season around, he doesn’t care about fans booing him.