Russell Westbrook has no problem sharing spotlight with Kevin Durant
Fresh off his 41-point, MVP performance Sunday in the NBA All-Star Game, Russell Westbrook had plenty of interesting things to say about his role on the Oklahoma City Thunder and how he happily prefers being part of a dynamic duo along with Kevin Durant as opposed to being the lone wolf on his own team.
Westbrook joined “The Dan Patrick Show” Wednesday and made it clear that winning takes rank over everything else, even if that means he has to share the spotlight in OKC with Durant. When asked if he’d be interested in being the top dog on his own team, Westbrook said he’s happy with things as they are right now.
“No, not at all, man,” Westbrook said, as transcribed by Ball Don’t Lie. “I love winning. Kevin’s one of the best players in the world, man, and I love my position I’m in now.
“I think over the past four or five years, only maybe two teams have won more games than us — San Antonio and probably Miami,” he added. “So, I mean, I don’t think it gets too much better than that. I mean, you can be on your own and win a few games and then go home in the summer, but I’d rather win games and have a chance to win a championship every year.”
While injuries have decimated the Thunder’s roster and caused the team to face an uphill battle all season, the team has managed to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot. At 28-25, Oklahoma City is only a half-game out of the top eight in the Western Conference. And with both Westbrook and Durant as healthy as they’ve been all season — at the same time, no less — and playing well, there’s no reason to suspect that the Thunder cannot stay in the thick of the playoff race until season’s end, arguably even moving up a notch or two in the conference should the team be able to run off a solid stretch during which it wins a bunch of games.
It’s happened before when a star player on an NBA squad simply was unable to share the spotlight with a fellow star on a team — Stephon Marbury’s forced exodus out of Minnesota to escape the shadow of Kevin Garnett comes to mind — but to hear it from Westbrook, things between himself and Durant are all good, despite reports that have emerged at times indicating otherwise.
“Do I think [media members invented or inflated those issues? I’m not sure,” Westbrook said. “But I know myself and Kevin always, always became closer and closer, regardless of what stories or what was made up about us. We’ve constantly became closer and closer, like brothers, and got through everything that was thrown our way, whether it was true or not true or things that were made up.”
With Durant facing an incredibly tough decision in 2016 whether or not to say in OKC — something he discussed in a fascinating GQ interview — Westbrook won’t have to face that decision until one year later when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2017.
No matter how everything plays out in the end — the dynamic duo have a couple more chances to make runs at an NBA title together. Although ultimately Westbrook may one day have the chance to run his own team, whether he wants the opportunity to do so or not.
(photo credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)