It's fair to say that Russell Westbrook is one of the most heavily-criticized players in NBA history. He's got the athletic and physical tools to be one of the most dominant players to ever do it, yet his lack of success in the playoffs has always stained his legacy.
Lately, however, Westbrook has been playing at an elite level once again, leading the Washington Wizards to a bit of a revival and keeping their playoff hopes alive, even without Bradley Beal.
However, it seems like some people are still unimpressed by his numbers, and even after he led his team to a win over the Utah Jazz by posting the first-ever triple-double with 35+ points and 20+ assists in NBA history, they're still finding ways to call him out.
Stephen A. Smith Calls Out Russell Westbrook
The first to do it was ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, who claimed that those numbers meant nothing because he's used to doing that stuff, yet he can't win or lead when it matters the most:
"Westbrook's numbers last night mean absolutely nothing to me because even though that's great numbers, that's what Westbrook can do. We all know this. He's a former league MVP. He's the most athletic point guard we have ever seen in NBA history," Smith started.
"But Bradley Beal and you are in the backcourt together and y'all are 17-28 in the Eastern Conference. (...) You've played with some great, great players over the years, some talent. And not a single title to show for it. The numbers are the numbers. That's Russell Westbrook. He can do that to anybody. But I'm at a point in time in his career where it ain't about that no more. It's about whether or not you can get to another level to win the chip," he concluded.
Russell Westbrook's Wife Fires Back At Stephen A. Smith
Russell Westbrook's wife took offense on Smith's words and shared multiple stories on Instagram calling out the lifelong ESPN analyst, telling him to mind his own business and stop creating narratives about her husband:
"I don't know how many times I have to be minding my own business and randomly be subjected to you slandering my husband (who also happens to be minding his own business, being happy and living his best life)," Westbrook's wife wrote.
Westbrook Is Unfazed By Smith's Comments
Russell Westbrook, on the other hand, was the bigger man and took the high road. He didn't read much into what Stephen A. Smith had to say and simply said that he's happy with his life right now:
"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 to let people create narratives and constantly just talking sh*t for no reason about me. (...) 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. Like I said before, a championship don'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 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," Westbrook said.
Smith was out of line when he said that those numbers weren't impressive. We take Westbrook for granted because he's used to breaking those kinds of records. On the other hand, Westbrook hasn't learned from his mistakes and has refused to change his game to actually help a team win, and that's why he'll always be called out regardless of how impressive his numbers are.