When egos collide: The inevitable downfall of Russell Westbrook

For years now, we’ve read about the on-again/off-again bro-mance between Kevin Durant and his teammate Russell Westbrook.  They’re the NBA’s most dynamic, fake-spectacled duo this side of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.

We’re told they get along.  Then we hear they’re squabbling but when queried, they swear they’re the best of friends.

I used to believe them.  These days, I’m not so sure.

Behind the firepower of both Durant and Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder proved they were for real by representing the Western Conference in last year’s NBA Finals.  They ultimately lost in five games to the Miami Heat.  In only six years, Kevin Durant has become one of the game’s most insane talents, ranking second only to LeBron James as the guy you’d least like to cover in a pick-up game.  Westbrook is equally as nasty.  He’s the most explosive point guard in a league full of explosive point guards, but he’s also an excitable boy.

His temper flared again the other night after a spat with one his teammates, allegedly either Durant or Thabo Sefolosha.  Only Westbrook knows for sure.  Westbrook stormed to the bench angrily, flipped a chair then ran to the locker room in a huff.  He later returned to the sidelines with a towel over his head, seemingly ready to apologize but we all know that would never happen.  Russell just doesn’t seem like the apologizing type.  Keep in mind, this all happened in a game the Thunder were winning by twenty!

TNT’s Craig Sager tried his best to get to the bottom of what happened but couldn’t get a straight answer from Westbrook, Durant or Coach Scotty Brooks.  They all brushed it off as Russell being Russell.  He’s a competitor, they excused.  Either way, Westbrook was an unhappy camper and millions of us saw it again, for the first time.

Now I’m not suggesting that locker rooms need to be all kumbaya for teams to win championships.  Sometimes a little fire is important but so is camaraderie and communication.  The next team to win a championship with one of their star players complaining about how few shots he takes will be the first.

Point guards aren’t always a team’s leader but they are the team’s quarterback.  They are, by nature, unselfish.  They’re the players who handle the ball the most, unless of course they’re on the same team as Kobe Bryant.  While OKC is clearly Durant’s team, Westbrook too often gives off the impression he’s uncomfortable playing second fiddle.

It’s easy to imagine Durant finishing his career in Oklahoma City.  While LeBron was airing his South Beach “Decision” years ago, Durant took the road less traveled, merely Tweeting that he had re-signed in Oklahoma City, without all the hoopla and rigmarole.

But Westbrook?  At this point, I think most of us would be surprised if Westbrook re-signs, or even makes it through his current contract.  Westbrook is locked in through 2016 at a max deal.  That summer, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.

Durant/Westbrook wouldn’t be the first duo in NBA history to end on a sour note and they won’t be the last.  When players want to prove they can do things on their own, that usually ends badly for both the player and his former team.

All good things must come to an end.  If Westbrook can’t learn to play nice, that might soon be the case in Oklahoma City.

25 thoughts on “When egos collide: The inevitable downfall of Russell Westbrook

  1. Pingback: When egos collide: The inevitable downfall of Russell Westbrook - BallHyped Blog Network, NBA | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Children have been fighting in the sandbox for generations and that’s never going to end. The bigger question here is this: Is Craig Sager channeling Don Cherry in the wardrobe department?

  3. Westbrook is young. He’s hungry and has a chip on his shoulder. All of which is good.

    He didn’t go onto the court or into the stands.

    He’ll be OK.

    He and Durant make a great combo and either would be a fool to mess it up. Harden was enough of an ego fool to leave last year to Houston… and got his arse handed to him with a spanking from Miami yesterday.

    It takes a ‘team’ to win.

    Not one guy, not two guys…

    and Westbrook might boil over once in awhile but he wants a ring, badly, and I think he’s sharp enough to see that his chances are best with Durant and Thunder company.

  4. Oh no. Don Cherry and Craig Sager had a child and this is what he looks like.
    That’s Morehead State women’s basketball coach Tom Hodges looking like your father’s sock drawer mated with his closet and then vomited up the baby. Try not to stare at it too long, lest you be sucked into the hypnotic spell that Craig Sager and Don Cherry have been under the past 15 years.

    http://www.collegehoopsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/KILL-IT-WITH-FIRE.79.jpg

  5. Snake…

    The guy’s insanely talented though. I’d just hate to see him go the way of Stephon Marbury or Steve Francis.

    And do you think Sager dresses like that in his spare time or is it just for show?

  6. I think Sager dresses like that just for on air but Cherry does it all the time. Don Cherry looks like his suits are made of drapery material. I’m digging the argyle suit. Its not just for socks and sweaters anymore.

  7. OKC is going to fall flat… flatter than a 2 day old sip of wine cooler in the condiment shelf.

    Knicks all the way baby!!

  8. Chris

    I was under the impression that winning cures everything ? Well , the things that the Thunder has going for it at present , second best record in the West , easily leading their division , with a six game lead over their closest rivals , the Nuggets (31-18) . Now as long as they go deep into the postseason ….. and by that, I mean to the Finals . Then , if Westbrook is out there having sex with a teammates’ wife , no one will actually give a rat’s @ss what’s going on, inside the locker room of the team .

    It’s Durant’s team , and if he’s the presumed leader , then he should be the guy “quashing ” any beef that’s going on , and not letting it seethe , if there’s said to be any bad blood .

    Here’s what we do know for certain Durant and Westbrook are the most explosive combo /.duo in the NBA .

    No one else comes even remotely close and that’s all anyone needs to understand . As that duo goes , then so does the rest of the team .

    I find it actually laughable that Warriors’ coach Mark Jackson can attest that he’s an old school type of coach ! His team’s @ss was handed to them on a plate , when they lost 140-109 to the Rockets , while Harden and his boys drained down 57.5 % (23/40) [making it rain up in that bi#ch] from beyond the arc hitting, 23 three-pointers in the Rockets’ victory . What’s meant to be commendable and old school about that sort of defeat when your team plays no goddamn defense ? Yet I’m being told by one patron that the Warriors are a team that has the potential go deep into the playoffs . That’s not happening when there’s no one on the team capable of playing defense . And let’s put it this way , Jackson in his prime was never that great a defensive player to begin with .

    The Magic are still having problems and the team is ailing with so many injuries .

    Tophatal …………

  9. Is it true that in the NBA rulebook it states that every team must have at least one prima dona? If it doesn’t it should.

  10. Anger management classes have long been made available to any and all players displaying the tendencies this guy has shown from Day One. I once thought OKC was a perfect fit…but he keeps throwing the occasional fit that makes me rethink what would be best for all. If I had to vote now I would definitely side with him not being on the Thunder’s side for the length of that current contract. Durant and OKC would/will survive his departure. It is a damn shame they can’t get him to play nice…and just play ball.

  11. I wouldn’t mind having that kind of “problem” on the Lakers these days.

    After getting steamrolled by the hated Sieze last night, it’s pretty obvious we could use a guy with that kind of fire in his belly.

    I don’t dig his over-the-top antics, whether it be these tantrums you point out or his showboating after making a three pointer or dunk, but there’s no denying his abilities on the court. If he leaves OKC and somehow comes back to Cali and dons the P&G, a medical card and some Bob Marley in his headphones would do him some good.

  12. Al…

    The Thunder are winning now but let’s see what happens if they make it deep in the playoffs again only to lose again.

    I actually enjoyed Mark Jackson’s ploy the other night, not allowing Houston to take that final three but you’re right, that was after his team has already let up a hundred and forty something points.

    And I’m not too sure the Magic can blame their woes on injuries. They were bad to begin with. I’m still trying to figure out how the Lakers ended up with Dwight Howard, the Sixers got Andrew Bynum, the Nuggets got AI and the Magic ended up with Aaron Afflalo.

  13. I’m starting to think Diva Dwight might just have a vagina. Kobe basically said the same thing the other day.

    Dwightarella isn’t used to EXPECTATIONS.
    He was a big fish in a small Orlando pond that is impressed with them merely getting to the Finals. Now as a Laker it’s title or bust. Granted, he’s been working through off season back surgery (from which he may have returned too soon in my estimation) and now the shoulder, but when both Jordan Hill and Pau are out we NEED the guy to break out that cape with the big S on it and he doesn’t seem to have the nads to rise to that occasion thus far. Not really sure if it’s physical or mental yet.

    A few more Kobe jabs at his manhood and he may just decide this land of expectation isn’t his cup of tea and bolt to his preferred destination of Brooklyn. A sign and trade getting Brook Lopez in return isn’t a horrible option. I hope that doesn’t happen mind you, but if Dwight can’t man up and show the bright lights of LA aren’t his kryptonite, then we have to keep plan B in the back of our minds here in LaLaLand.

    Dysfunction and the Lakers go hand in hand in the Kobe era. Worked to the tune of a threepeat at the height of the Shaqfield and McKobe feud. Who’s to say it can’t work again? A talent like Westbrook doesn’t grow on trees and the Lakers could use some athleticism like that these days. won’t happen, but one can dream right?

  14. Bleed…

    I guess it’s time for me to revisit my estranged relationship with Dwight as a Magic fan now that he’s been gone a while and has stirred up quite the panic in La La Land.

    He was good, arguably the best center in the game, however, there really are no good centers in the game so what does that tell you?

    By the end of his stay in O’Town, we were all just over it. The bitchiness was deafening but nowhere near as bad as it is now.

    He never had to deal with the likes of a Kobe. What did he expect? That is and will be the Mamba’s team until he retires. If that’s something Dwight can’t deal with then it’s time to look elsewhere come season’s end but at least, for the time being, man up and start dunking on some people.

    These days everyone’s wondering if he still has it in him.

  15. Is Westbrook still a little immature? Sure, but he and KD are the best 1-2 punch in the league.

    LeBron and DWade may be a close second but it’s OKC’s title to lose this season.

    There is no way the Thunder will ever give up on a prodigious talent like RW.

  16. Drew…

    Welcome back from your slumber.

    First of all, let’s get a few things straight. LeBron James is so far ahead of every other player in the game (have you watched what he’s been doing lately) that he and I could create the best 1-2 punch in the league!

    Seriously, until Durant and Westbrook knock of Wade and LBJ in a seven-game series, I can’t put those guys ahead of the Heat. I just can’t.

    I do see them getting back to the Finals this year but still losing to Miami.

    We shall see.

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