Have you ever wondered why Russell Westbrook uses the "Why Not?" slogan?
The genius behind the moniker dates back to Westbrook’s days at Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, California.
"We were just joking around doing silly things in high school, me and my best friend," said Westbrook. "Jumping off tables, oh why not? Let’s do it, why not? Along the way, we would be in class and the teacher would be like, 'Who wants to do this paper, this project?' We’ll do it, why not?"
Westbrook remembers it was at that time he started to build his own self-confidence.
"I can do anything it was nothing negative nobody could tell me. We felt so confident swagging around that we could do anything we put our minds to," Westbrook recently told NBC Sports Washington.
Once it became a slogan, Westbrook says it also started to become a lifestyle to inspire people to believe in themselves.
"The mental health side it helps I believe it builds self-confidence, self swagger, when you wake up in the morning you have so much negativity in the world it allows you to be like, 'I can do anything I put my mind to', sounds simple but why not? Why can't it be me?"
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness, (51.9 million in 2019).
Mental health and wellness are an important part of Westbrook’s "Why Not?" message, so much so, it’s a pillar of his foundation spearheaded by his wife, Nina, who’s a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Founded in 2012, the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation is dedicated to supporting community-based education and family service programs while encouraging youth to believe in themselves.
"There are so many times I’m anxious or there might be times I may feel a little depressed or sitting down, but it's not a bad thing," Westbrook said. "It’s just actually a normal thing that may happen, there may be times I’m anxious and nervous about, that’s mental health. I believe it’s very important to be able to ingrain that into Why Not?"