Is It Right To Dismiss Russell Westbrook’s Historic Triple Double? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com
The biggest mouth at ESPN is in full NBA mode this week and has set his sights on Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards. That mouth belongs to Stephen A. Smith, who has chosen to dismiss the triple-double streak Westbrook went on to end the month of March.
Utmost respect to Russell Westbrook, but last night’s numbers mean absolutely nothing to me. pic.twitter.com/FRaanNyHpn
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) March 30, 2021
When discussing Russell Westbrook, Stephen A. Smith took a very simple position when asked about the 35-point/21-assist/14-rebound triple double, the first of its kind in NBA history. Said Smith on ESPN’s First Take:
“That’s what (Russell) Westbrook can do.”
Smith also dismissed what the guard did for one reason, Russell Westbrook has never won an NBA title, making all the stats he has collected during his career meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
Russell Westbrook on Stephen A. Smith
"One thing I won't allow to happen anymore is let people create narratives & constantly just talking shit 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." pic.twitter.com/8oJi0E4dwT
— Hoop District (@Hoop_District) March 31, 2021
In a two-minute reply to Smith, Russell Westbrook said, in part:
“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. I know many people that got NBA championships that’s miserable, haven’t done nothing for their community, haven’t done nothing for the people in our world. And for me, man, my legacy, like I mentioned before, it not based on what I do on this court. I’m not gonna 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 … There’s no other player that kinda takes the heat that I take constantly. But I take it as a positive, because obviously, I’m doing something right if people are talking about me … and that’s how I feel.”
Let’s take this a step at a time. Stephen A. Smith, as a sports commentator, was doing his job when discussing Russell Westbrook, albeit bombastically, but nevertheless doing his job. From a purely basketball perspective, Smith also made a valid point, all the stats that Russell Westbrook is posting will make his Hall of Fame plaque look very impressive one day, but, to date, hasn’t helped any of the teams he has played on become an NBA champion.
Westbrook’s style, while often the focus of Stephen A. Smith’s employers at ESPN, hasn’t proven to be a winning style. This, perhaps, is something that Stephen A. Smith was attempting to point out, just not very well or successfully.
As for Westbrook, his comments were deep and thought provoking up until he played the victim card by saying he takes heat from his critics. He spoke as someone that doesn’t understand why the media speaks ill of him (it’s their job).
I give Westbrook credit for wanting to establish a legacy away from the NBA, and I truly hope he does; but until that phase of his life begins in earnest, he will be discussed, and yes judged, by what he does on a basketball court by those who are asked to perform that task.
For me, there’s only one stat that matters in sports, wins. How many games did you win and how many titles have you won. Russell Westbrook might enjoy being the center of attention as he walks to the locker room in a unique outfit each game or after he posts another triple-double, but in terms of his career, getting a ring would only enhance his career, and dismissing its important only reinforces that he is a different person than most competitors. Which opens Westbrook up to commentary for and against his state of mind, with room for both opinions on the topic.
As fans we always want players to care about winning as much as we do; but as Westbrook proved, not all of them do, making Smith’s point correct, something the player couldn’t care less about … which is part of the reason why Stephen A. went off, to try and see if he did care. Sadly, for Westbrook fans, his attitude won’t change, nor will his achievements on the court likely improve.
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Is It Right To Dismiss Russell Westbrook’s Historic Triple Double? | TooAthletic.com
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