As a lifelong NBA fan, I‘ve been eagerly following Russell Westbrook‘s entire career since his rookie season in 2008. Over the past decade, I‘ve watched Westbrook grow from a young, athletic spark plug into one of the most dominant, game-changing point guards in league history.
Here‘s a quick overview of Westbrook‘s key info:
|Full Name||Russell Westbrook III|
|Birthday||November 12, 1988 (age 34)|
|Hometown||Long Beach, California, USA|
|Current Team||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Draft||2008 Round 1, Pick 4|
|Career PPG||23.2 PPG|
|Career APG||8.4 APG|
|Career RPG||7.4 RPG|
|All-NBA Selections||9x First/Second Team|
Early Days and College Career
Westbrook first made waves during his high school days at Leuzinger High in Los Angeles where he was rated as one of the top college prospects. He ultimately chose to attend UCLA close to home where he played two seasons under coach Ben Howland from 2006 to 2008.
In college, Westbrook provided a huge spark off the bench as the Bruins‘ sixth man. Although he didn‘t start, he brought great energy and athleticism whenever he stepped on the court. I instantly loved watching the passion and intensity Westbrook played with – he clearly had an NBA future ahead.
Getting Drafted and Breaking Out
The Seattle SuperSonics (now Thunder) selected Westbrook 4th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft. After relocating to Oklahoma City, Westbrook quickly emerged as one of the young, promising building blocks for the new Thunder franchise.
In his second season, he raised his scoring average to 16.1 points per game while dishing out 8 assists a night – showcasing improved playmaking skills. By 2011, Westbrook earned his first All-Star nod and led the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals.
One of my favorite Westbrook memories as a fan during this period was his electric 40 point performance against the Clippers in the 2014 playoffs. Although they lost the series, Russ went off for 40 points, 10 assists, 5 steals and incited "MVP" chants from the OKC crowd. It was a preview of his superstar potential.
Historic MVP and Triple-Double Seasons
Everything culminated during the 2016-2017 season after Kevin Durant‘s departure left Westbrook as the undisputed leader of the Thunder. Westbrook put together one of the most jaw-dropping statistical seasons ever seen:
- 31.6 PPG (career high)
- 10.7 RPG (career high)
- 10.4 APG (career high)
Westbrook averaged a triple-double and broke Oscar Robertson‘s longstanding record of 41 triple-doubles in a season. His electric play and video game numbers were must-see TV every night. For carrying the Thunder into the playoffs, Westbrook was named the 2017 NBA MVP.
Remarkably, Westbrook averaged a triple-double for TWO more seasons. As a diehard fan, I was in awe watching him bend the limits of what we thought was possible for a point guard statically.
Changing Teams but Never Slowing Down
After over a decade leading the Thunder, Westbrook was traded to the Houston Rockets in 2019. Some wondered if Westbrook could adapt to leaving the only NBA team he had played for.
But Westbrook never slowed down, putting up 27 points and 8 assists per game in his first Rockets season while being named an All-Star starter.
In 2020, Westbrook was on the move again – this time traded to the Washington Wizards. Russ exploded right out the gates, setting the record for most triple-doubles in Wizards franchise history in just one season. Vintage Westbrook!
Returning Home to Los Angeles
Prior to the 2022-23 season, Westbrook was traded back home to Los Angeles, joining his hometown Lakers alongside fellow superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
As a LA native, I was pumped to watch Westbrook play for my own home team. Seeing Westbrook throw down dunks and celebrate big plays at Crypto.com arena is a dream for this fan.
While Russ faced early struggles trying to mesh with new teammates last season, I‘m confident that he can regain his superstar form and be a major contributor towards the Lakers‘ championship hopes. That‘s what you get with a competitor like Russ – he works relentlessly and pours his heart into winning.
Play Style and Signature Skills
So what exactly makes Russell Westbrook such a thrilling talent? Here are the standout skills that have defined his game throughout his career:
- Lightning Speed – Westbrook is one of the fastest end-to-end players in NBA history thanks to his blazing acceleration and first step. Once he builds momentum, good luck trying to slow him down!
- Tenacious Attacking – Russ plays with a determination to get to the rim every possession. He breaks down defenses with relentless drives and soars through the air for poster dunks.
- Playmaking Vision – Westbrook is an underrated passer, especially in the open court. He can sling bullet outlets passes to kickstart fastbreaks and find cutters through tight passing windows.
- Nose for the Ball – Despite being just 6‘3", Westbrook has a knack for collecting rebounds thanks to his athleticism, hustle and instincts. He fights for boards against much bigger players.
- Competitive Fire – Westbrook goes 110% every minute he‘s on the floor. He plays with a fiery passion that is contagious for his teammates and electrifying for fans.
By the Numbers: Westbrook‘s Epic Statistical Feats
- 185 career triple-doubles (1st all-time)
- 4 seasons averaging a triple-double (2016-19, 1st all-time)
- 42 triple-doubles in 2016–2017 (1st all-time)
- 848 career steals (1st among active players)
- 19,712 career points
- 76 career 40-point games
His Signature Style Off the Court
Beyond his ferocious play on the court, Westbrook has become just as known for his bold, trendsetting fashion sense.
He frequently debuts cutting-edge outfits before and after games. Russ has helped usher in streetwear and high fashion into the NBA style world. From flashy lens-less glasses to designer clothes from brands like Thom Browne, he always keeps us guessing what outfit he‘ll premiere next.
Westbrook has leveraged his style influence into several partnerships with brands like Jordan, Barneys New York, True Religion and more. His "Honor the Gift" clothing line with Jordan embodied his passion for fashion and love of LA culture.
In 2017, Westbrook highlighted his eclectic personal style by releasing a book called Style Drivers featuring some of his favorite fashionable looks. As both a diehard NBA and fashion fan, it‘s been super exciting to watch Westbrook seamlessly intertwine both his basketball excellence and creative fashion sense.
Giving Back: Community Impact and Charity
Away from the court, I deeply respect Westbrook for how he gives back to the community.
In 2012, he launched the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation, which supports educational and athletic programs for underprivileged youth. He frequently makes appearances at children‘s hospitals to lift patients‘ spirits.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Westbrook focused charitable efforts on providing meals and supplies to struggling families in the Los Angeles area.
This dedication to helping kids and those in need reflects Westbrook‘s big heart – he is willing to use his platform to create positive change.
The Energizer Point Guard‘s Lasting Legacy
Now in the back half of his career at age 34, Westbrook‘s days of being an everyday NBA superstar may be numbered. But no matter when he decides to hang up his kicks, Russ has cemented himself as one of the most dominant, game-changing point guards ever and a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Watching Westbrook‘s passion, energy and flair over the past 15 seasons has been a true joy as a devoted NBA fan. I will forever cherish getting to witness his legendary 2016-17 MVP season where he electrified crowds on a nightly basis and accomplished something we hadn‘t seen in over 50 years.
Beyond all the stats and records, Westbrook‘s legacy will be defined by the palpable electricity he brought to the game. His relentless energy, athleticism and competitive spirit made you feel his unmistakable presence anytime he stepped on the floor.
Win or lose, Westbrook only knows how to play at one speed – all out. It‘s that full throttle mentality that has endeared him to fans and earned the respect of his peers. He embodies the kind of fiery competitive passion that we all wish we possessed.
Russell Westbrook has undoubtedly left the NBA and the game of basketball better off thanks to his singular talents, iconic moments and one-of-a-kind swagger. His imprint on the league will not be forgotten anytime soon.