Sportress of Blogitude

Paul George colorfully describes having Russell Westbrook as a teammate

Paul George recently acknowledged that Russell Westbrook may indeed have a reputation of being an “a– hole,” as George himself put it. Even so, the Oklahoma City Thunder superstar stresses there’s much more to Westbrook than such a simple label.

Westbrook without question is about as fiery as NBA players come. While that may rub some the wrong way — especially opponents — George insists that aspect of Westbrook’s personality ultimately makes him endearing to teammates.

George, in a recent interview with ESPN’s Royce Young, makes the important distinction between players in the league who have been tabbed as an “a– hole” and Westbrook. Whereas others who have such a reputation could not care less about their teammates, Westbrook balances his ultra-competitive rhetoric and demanding conduct with dedication to his fellow roster mates.

“You’ve got guys in the league that have that — I would say ‘a–hole’ in them that people think Russ has,” George said. “And that’s fine. That’s fine to be an a–hole. You should be an a–hole at some point. The difference is, you’ve got guys that are a–holes that don’t care to be your teammate.

“Russ is going to be there, regardless if he’s getting on you, if he’s chewing you out. If it’s something he feels he needs to address with you, he’s going to do it. But he’s going to be your teammate at the end of the day. He’s going to have your back, he’s going to stand his ground and he’s going to go to war with you. After, he’s going to laugh, he’s going to joke — that’s Russ. He’s a different type of teammate.”

Westbrook has long been labeled as “misunderstood,” for lack of a better word. As George sees it, the way Westbrook goes about his business — even if he comes across as an “a– hole at times — nevertheless inspires teammates to rally around him.

While George’s perspective may stand in stark contrast to how Kevin Durant may have felt about his former Thunder teammate, it clearly motivated George to remain with the Thunder despite other options.