Russell Westbrook says he doesn’t really care about the insane numbers he consistently dropped during the 2016-2017 season. So, let’s start with that.
On opening night against the Philadelphia 76ers, he put up a 32-12-9 line. On the final game of the season, his numbers resembled more a Wynne Arboleda stat line (5 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists) than an MVP candidate. That’s because his Oklahoma Thunder have already clinched the playoffs. That’s because, just three days prior, he already notched his 42nd triple double of the season—breaking the NBA record previously set by Oscar Robertson in the 60s—by scoring 50 points, grabbing 16 rebounds, and dishing out 10 assists.
In 81 games played, Westbrook averaged 31.6 points per game, 10.7 rebounds per game, and 10.4 assists per game. He became the second player in NBA history to average a triple double for an entire season. In the five games he played in the playoffs, he averaged 37.4 points per game, 11.8 rebounds per game, and 10.8 assists per game, per basketball-reference.com. He became only the third player in NBA history, behind Robertson and Jason Kidd, to average a triple double in the playoffs.
But he doesn’t really care about the numbers. To quote the ever eloquent, polarizing superstar after a mind-boggling 51-10-13 game in April: “I don’t give a fuck about my stat line.” Oklahoma lost that game.
Westbrook only cares about winning, he would have us believe—in the same way he relentlessly worked on the angles that he does not care about winning MVP nor about trolling Kevin Durant. He shouted “Thank you, Jamie!” and not “Thank you, Kyrie!” after the Warriors lost to the Cavs. Wearing a photographer’s vest as his pregame outfit versus Golden State wasn’t a subliminal jab against Durant, an aspiring photographer. Posting a cupcake photo the day Durant sent him the break-up text had no hidden meaning.
Russell Westbrook is all about winning games, but now here we are, his team going on early vacation, and Durant’s Warriors are heading to the second round. He’s not after individual accolades, but barring a Harden swing vote from the media, he is poised to receive the highest one the NBA gives out. And something tells us he still won’t be happy. For Westbrook thrives on suffering. Westbrook lives with desperate hatred—for the rim, for his defenders, for those who ask him the right questions. Westbrook, God of anger. Westbrook, for whom triple doubles will be named after. Westbrook, deity of destruction. Westbrook, the Shiva from Oklahoma. Westbrook, prince of petty. Westbrook, the sultan of stat. Westbrook, troll titan. Westbrook, solo artist extraordinaire.
The road ahead on Highway Brodie seems bleak and lonely, despite a historic season. But the one behind the wheel is Russell Westbrook, serving both as driver and navigator, and that’s all that matters—with Lil Uzi Vert’s anthem blasting from the car speakers.
[Westbrook GIF created by Gem Llave]