RUSSELL WESTBROOK – JUMPMAN
"I want to give kids confidence they can do whatever they want to put their mind to." WORDS: REMBERT BROWNE IMAGES: @RAYSCORRUPTEDMIND
Watching Russell Westbrook play basketball is both exhausting and inspirational. Each time he steps on the court, it’s a constant reminder of how high the rest of us can’t jump, how fast we no longer can run, and how much work we should be doing. But that success and that passion that he exudes — we want that. So watching him refuse to lift his foot off the gas forces you look within yourself and say — if he can do this, day after day, then why not me?
That “Why Not?” trademark that Westbrook has established as a signature Jordan athlete could not be more appropriate.
It’s a fulfilling but overwhelming and fast-paced way to live your life. Watching him maneuver in All-Star week, and mere hours preceding the top-billing game, Westbrook always seemed to be on the move. Some of that is just the nature of the week, but for him it’s also intensified, because Los Angeles is home. “It’s something I’m very, very blessed to be a part of, especially in my hometown,” Westbrook said, only hours before his 7th All-Star appearance.
While his schedule is packed, and his obligations are vast, listening to him sit down and talk illuminated a different side — a man whose thoughts are collected, who speaks with purpose, and is extremely grateful for the position he’s in.
“Seeing the shoe, seeing the billboards in my hometown,” Westbrook said, “I’m just really taking it all in. Because I never thought all of this would be happening. Sitting down and being able to create something that people will like. I’ll never take any of it for granted.”
Whether it’s discussing Michael Jordan or talking about his family, Westbrook jumps at the opportunity to discuss those in his life that have helped him get to where he is. ”When the opportunity presented itself a long time ago to be a part of the brand, it was a no-brainer for me — it’s MJ.”
As for his mother: “She’s always been the one who kept me up with what was going on in style and fashion, she made sure me and my brother and my dad dressed up to par. She’s my inspiration, and she’s always had great ideas. Especially now, she still knows what up.”
It’s clear that his entire existence as one of the most unique, stylish, risk-taking professional athletes is purposeful, but also bigger than clothes. That “Why Not?” mentality is something he hopes makes others — especially younger kids — express themselves.
When it comes to style, the proud father already has a plan in motion to pass the knowledge on to his baby boy Noah: “My son – he’s definitely gonna be swagged out.”
“I embrace that “Why Not?” mentality, not just in basketball but throughout life. I think a lot of people lack self-confidence. And I want the mindset behind that message to give kids the confidence they can do whatever they put their mind to, that they can try different things they typically might not try.”