Russell Westbrook had time on Tuesday night.
On Monday, he became the first player in NBA history to have a triple-double with at least 35 points and 20 assists. The Wizards also won, so it was a good night for him all-around. But on Tuesday morning, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith decided to use that accomplishment as a time to remind everyone Westbrook has yet to win an NBA title.
In the video, which is entitled 'Stephen A. doesn't care about Westbrook's big night,' Smith listed all the great teammates Westbrook has had over the years and said "where is the chip to show for it?" He went through how Westbrook never developed a consistent three-point shot and suggested that was the reason why he hasn't won a championship.
Westbrook, of course, has heard these complaints before. So, he had quite a bit to say about it on Tuesday night after the Wizards' loss to the Hornets.
"That’s how my life’s been since Day 1. I’ve been playing basketball for my whole life. Like my wife mentioned [on Instagram], it’s important that you don’t let people deter you from your goal, deter you from your plan, deter you from the things you have destined in this world. A prime example is I watch these college games and these kids and these announcers, man, they get on the TV and say anything about a kid. They don’t know him, they don’t know his family, they don’t know where he’s from. They don’t know his struggles, they don’t know his pain; they don’t know anything about the kid. But one thing said on TV can determine how you perceive this kid on TV," Westbrook said.
Westbrook went on to say he believes the wrong misperception could prevent a player from being drafted or from making money to give back to his family and his community. Westbrook said that can be particularly damaging for kids who come from minority and underserved communities.
He then went back to the comments from Smith.
"I sit back, I don’t say much. I don’t like to go back and forth about people. But one thing I won’t allow to happen anymore is let people create narratives and constantly talking s--- for no reason about me because I lay it on the line every night. And I use my platform to be able to help people all across the world. Nobody can take that away from me. I’ve been blessed to be able to have a platform to do it. A championship won’t change my life. I’m happy. I was a champion once I made it to the NBA. I grew up in the streets. I’m a champion. I don’t have to be an NBA champion," he said.
"My legacy, like I’ve mentioned before, is not based on what I do on this court. I’m not going to play basketball my whole life. My legacy is what I do off the floor, how many people I’m able to impact and inspire along my journey. That’s how I keep my head down and keep it pushing because it’s very important that you don’t let the negativity seep in. It’s been like that my whole career, honestly. There’s no other player that takes heat that I take constantly. But it’s a positive, I’m doing something right if people are talking about me. That’s how I feel and I put my best foot forward, stay prayful, keep my family close and keep it like that."
Westbrook feels he has been dealing with the same criticism for his entire life. Clearly, Smith touched a nerve with what he said.