Russell Westbrook has struggled in his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Although the one-time MVP is averaging solid numbers of 18.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists, he leads the NBA in turnovers, has a plus-minus of -150 and is shooting only 43.4% from the field, 28.4% from beyond the arc and 67.0% from the free-throw line.
Westbrook was born and raised in Long Beach, California. One of the reasons he wanted to play for the Lakers is so that he could be around his family more often.
Unfortunately, since Westbrook has played poorly this season, his wife — Nina — has received “death wishes” on social media.
“When I’m being harassed on a daily basis over basketball games, and I’m having obscenity’s and death wishes for me and my family sent my way because you’re expressing your ‘truth,’ it’s hard for me to get on board with that,” Nina Westbrook wrote on Twitter. “My career is focused around encouraging and supporting others in living in their truth, finding their voice, and finding their peace. This is actually what I’m doing. My behavior aligns with someone who is speaking their truth.
“I don’t do the things that I do to receive attention, to get clicks, or for show. This is not a game to me. Basketball is a game. This is my life, my children’s lives, and my families life. Shaming anyone for any reason is never the answer. As far as my husband goes, he is his own person. I don’t need to defend him. I love and support him through all of the unwarranted hate and negativity that he receives. I speak up and share my experience and knowledge for those who do not have a voice.”
The Lakers are in ninth place in the Western Conference despite having Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Westbrook has been booed at home games several times this season, which the fans have every right to do if he’s playing badly.
However, sending Westbrook’s wife death threats is severely crossing the line.
There Should Never Be Death Threats in Sports
Basketball is just a game. Fans should never send death threats to players or their families.
Nina Westbrook is hopeful that the players who come after her husband won’t have to deal with that.
“My hope is that the amazing and talented players that come after him don’t have to be subjected to this type of shaming, name-calling, and public scrutiny for playing the game that they love,” Nina Westbrook wrote on Twitter.
Is Westbrook playing up to his potential with the Lakers? No. However, that doesn’t mean he and his family should be getting bullied on social media.
It’s not the end of the world if Westbrook doesn’t play well and help the Lakers win the title and fans need to realize that and stop sending the Westbrooks death wishes.
Westbrook Still Has Time to Make Lakers Fans like Him
There’s still time left in the season for Westbrook to turn around his play and make Lakers fans like him. If the All-Star guard can finish the regular season strong and help the purple and gold reach the playoffs through the play-in tournament, the boo birds and social media threats may stop.
The death threats should stop right away, but Westbrook and his teammates deserve to get booed if they don’t play with maximum effort and urgency. The Lakers are a storied franchise with 17 championships, so players need to play with a sense of pride when they put on that LAL jersey.