10 Interesting Facts About Russell Westbrook
Russell is a huge family man. In a 2015 interview he said “I talk to [my family] every day. We’ve been so close as a family, I talk to them every day regardless of whether it’s two minutes, one minute, 30 seconds. I talk to them every day. Just on … about life and different things that may go on. All the time. Before every game, I call my parents, my brother, my fiancée (now wife) as well. Sometimes it may not be about basketball, sometimes it just may be about random things. It’s just something that I’ve done and something that works for me.”
He wore the number 4 in high school to symbolize the four people in his family. When asked why he switched to zero, he said that when you go through something you go with zero to get a new beginning. Perhaps this has something to do with the very untimely death of a high school friend and teammate…
Russell wears a rubber bracelet with KB3 inscribed on it. KB3 also sometimes appears on his shoes. This is a reference to his high school friend and teammate Khelcey Barrs, who passed away in 2004 at age 16 from an undiagnosed heart complication.
Few NBA players can rival Westbrook’s inhuman athleticism on the court, but he wasn’t always that way. He never cracked his high school’s starting lineup until his junior year and couldn’t dunk until he was 17.
Even after he hit his growth spurt and started playing at UCLA after getting the last available scholarship, he only averaged 3.4 PPG during his freshman year, playing behind Darren Collison. That’s pretty hard to imagine the way things are now, with Westbrook being a superstar and his old teammate not so much. He upped his game tremendously as a sophomore, averaging 12.7 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 4.3 APG and winning Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year.
Westbrook got picked 4th by the Seattle Supersonics in 2008, one spot ahead of his other UCLA teammate Kevin Love. This made him the last ever lottery pick for the team. He never even played a single game in a Sonics uniform because the team moved to Oklahoma City only 6 days after he was drafted.
Even though Westbrook was mostly considered Kevin Durant’s sidekick when they played together, it was him who recorded a triple double during his rookie season in a game against the Mavericks on March 2 2009. He become the first rookie after Chris Paul to do so and only the third in Sonics/Thunder history, after Art Harris and Gary Payton.
He once dressed up as teammate Steven Adams for Halloween.
His fashion sense is usually met with a lot of ridicule from teammates and fans alike, but that didn’t stop him from being named creative director at True Religion in for their Spring 2015 campaign, joining the ranks of athletes turned fashion stars like Michael Jordan and David Beckham.
Not only did Westbrook lend his unique fashion sense to New Religion, he also has his own line of sunglasses called Westbrook Frames, started in 2014. All the models are named after cities in his native California, like Hollywood, Calabasas, Bel Air etc.
Like a lot of NBA players, Russell Westbrook is very much intro philanthropy. In 2012, he started the Why Not? foundation, which works with disadvantaged children, which included opening multiple “Russell’s Reading Rooms” in different Oklahoma City public schools, which earned him a Community Assist award.
Following the May 2013 tornadoes that ravaged the city of Moore, Oklahoma, Westbrook, while still recovering from recent knee surgery, called Thunder PR ace Matt Tumbleson with a demand: “Get me out there with the people.” Hours later, Westbrook was in one of the decimated neighborhoods, on crutches, encouraging residents.
He also gave away the KIA he won at the 2015 All-Star Game to an Oklahoma single mother.