Russell Westbrook took to the podium for his All-Star Media interview deflecting any questions he was uncomfortable with toward fashion.
The interview everyone was waiting for this All-Star weekend was Russell Westbrook, but he took the upper hand with pundits via deflection and humor.
The interview began with a New Orleans teenager Jarrius Robertson joking around with Russell Westbrook, reminding everyone of how comfortable Westbrook is dealing with the younger generation as the two had a natural, humorous exchange.
Of note, the organizers set up the media interviews with Westbrook and Durant in direct eye line of each other, but on opposite sides of the room:
Kevin Durant and Warriors focus of many questions:
Reporters wasted no time jumping in immediately with their first question centered on the four Warriors and Westbrook.
Reporter: Hey Russ, what’s it going to be like to be in that locker room with Durant in the West and four of those guys (Warriors)?
Westbrook: Man, you know what, fashion week has been great, have you seen fashion week? Are you a fan of fashion week? Man, a lot of great looking things in fashion week, I’m looking forward to the new collections.
Jarrius Robertson (*see note below): It was hard to catch everything the little guy was saying, but in essence he made reference to Kevin Durant leaving and said how difficult it would be for OKC to make the playoffs.
Note: unless noted Q equals reporter question and A equals Russell Westbrook’s answer:
A: Responded with “Oh we gonna make the playoffs”
Jarrius Robertson: Yeah, you need some more shooters though.
A: this cracks Russ up who says “Yeah you want to play with us”
Jarrius Robertson: Sure, but you’re like the only person doing the work.
A: sensing where this is going, Russ kind of cuts it off and just says “well you come play with us then”
*Jarrius Robertson is better known as the “Who Dat” kid for the New Orleans Saints. He is also known as “Little JJ”. Robertson is awaiting a transplant. If you go to his facebook page and his Twitter which offer more information on how you can help his mission via donation.
From People article:
“The die-hard Saints fan has biliary atresia, a rare liver and bile duct disease that affects his physical growth. He is currently on the waiting list for a liver transplant. Jarrius, who has spent most of his life in and out of hospitals, has been a beloved intermittent presence at Saints practices over the past year — even offering some tough-love advice to football pros like quarterback Drew Brees.”
At this point another reporter asks a question (which is inaudible) which obviously focuses on Durant again, and once more Westbrook deflects toward fashion and the Jordan brand.
Sensing Westbrook isn’t going to give anything remotely close to the sound bite they are seeking the same reporters asks:
Q: How excited are you to suit up on Sunday?
A: Ah man, I’m excited, All-Star Weekend is a great experience for me and my family. Opportunity to get come out and enjoy a moment like this, it’s something you don’t take for granted. I’m blessed to be able to be here and happy to be a part of the game
Q: Russ are you the greatest All-Star reserve of all time?
A: Oh s*it no, I doubt it. I don’t know. (laughs) I don’t know, but I’m just happy to be on the team and be able to be picked. I think it’s always a blessing to be picked and opportunity to be on the All-Star team
Jarrius Robertson: I think you should start.
A: Yeah? I appreciate that man, thank you.
Jarrius Robertson: What do you do in your off time with your family?
A: I like to just chill, stay out of the way, I like to shop, I like to be at home designing a few things, enjoying some time off with family and just rest.
Jarrius Robertson: Do you play video games?
A: Not as much when you get married, the video games stop.
Westbrook repeatedly deflected all Warriors and Durant questions with fashion and style answers:
Q: If I ask a fashion question will you talk about Durant?
A: No you ask a question and I’ll give you an answer.
Q: What’s your favorite shoe brand?
A: Jordan obviously
Reporter (in background) well that didn’t work
Q: Who has the best style in the league, besides you?
A: It’s tough to say, a lot of people have stylists and people dress them so it’s difficult to say, I’m not sure but there’s a lot of guys that dress well and have a very good sense of style.
Jarrius Robertson: Who are you sponsored by?
A: I’m sponsored by Jordan
Jarrius Robertson: Maybe you can get me in it too
A: You got on Jordan’s now.
They continue on with some banter between them with Jarrius noting Westbrook’s pull over. Little JJ hints at Russell Westbrook getting him something for free to which Russ says “I maybe find a way to get you one.”
At this point a reporter from India asks for a shout-out to Russ’ fans there to which he obliges.
Jarrius Robertson: What do you think your team needs to work on this season?
A: You know a lot of things, but I think we are in a good place. We finished the All-Star Break right and hopefully come back and be ready to go.
Q: This last week or so we’ve all been asking about Kevin coming back (referencing last week’s OKC Thunder versus Warriors game) and you’ve said a lot of the same things that your not on my team anymore and it’s time to move on. Ah, do you think – have people moved on?
A: I don’t know, I don’t know what your all problem is
Q: But have the guys on the team moved on? Have you moved on yourself?
A: What it look like?
Q: I mean we’re still asking questions right?
A: That’s your all problem. (laughs)
Q: What do you think ends it? What do you think makes that end? Is it a kumbaya moment, a song? (the female reporter is clearly trying to get a sound bite aside from a fashion response here as she won’t give it up)
A: I don’t know what you all need, but I’m in a great place. I’m happy. I’m having fun, I’m having a great time. I’m happy with the team I have now and I’m looking forward to moving forward
At this point the father (I think, it was hard to hear) of Jarrius asks Russell Westbrook for words of advice for the youngster. Westbrook tells him to stay strong and think why not (points to the “Why Not” wording on his shirt which is also the name of his charity. Westbrook tells Little JJ to stay strong and tells him he uses these words as his motto to encourage himself and stay strong. He call the youngster a warrior and high fives him, reiterating “Stay strong.”
Q: (sounded like Michael Grange) You and Oscar Robertson have been paired together all year, but the scoring record for the All-Star game is Wilt Chamberlain with 42. You had 41 once (two seasons ago when Westbrook won his first of two consecutive All-Star MVP Awards), can you get it?
A: I had that once, you’re right.
Reporter is muted in back ground, but based on Westbrook’s answer it sounds like he asks again if he’ll try to get or if he thinks he can get it.
Q: No, I just play man, have fun, enjoy. If I make some shots, maybe, but we’ll see.
Another (or possibly the same female reporter from earlier) reiterates the question of how awkward it will be to be on the same team as four Warriors. And, again Russell Westbrook deflects into a fashion conversation with the pundit.
Q: How tough was it to pass up going to the Olympics this past summer?
A: I don’t know, I liked the rest. It was good for me to chill and be at home and rest. I was okay with that.
Q: What’s All-Star Weekend all about for you?
A: Just the experience, I think the whole experience in itself, to be able to be picked here, with some of the best payers to play the game is a great experience.
Q: (inaudible) sounded like they asked what the difference is when you aren’t at All-Star Weekend or the break itself.
A: I mean it’s definitely different, I mean you have more time to sit back and rest and enjoy your family and take your mind off basketball a little bit, so it’s always good.
Q: What’s your favorite part of New Orleans?
A: The food.
Reporter asks Westbrook about the three exclusive All-Star sneakers Jordan brand is launching this week and which are his favorites. Westbrook replies the “31’s” because he has played in them, and calls them a great shoe.
Q: (same female reporter from earlier) I feel like after the game last week it sort of brought everybody together, like at least on your team and Oklahoma and everything. Like that now that it’s happened that everybody….
A: (Russell cuts her off) Oh, we’ve been together since day one, that’s the kind of group of guys that we have and the city We always stick together.
Q: (referencing the absurd rumor earlier this week). You and A.D. (Anthony Davis) are close, trained together the offseason. What are your thoughts when you see those kind of rumors of you and him going to L.A., that kind of stuff?
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A: You like fashion? Whatcha wearing?
The two have an exchange on fashion as Westbrook is clearly not about to answer any questions he deems not worthy of his responses.
Q. What do you think about the town, how do you like New Orleans?
A: I like it man, New Orleans is cool, the food is good. But I’m real low key so I kind of stay out fo the way.
The presser finishes with Westbrook saying it was great to see you all, see you all at Fashion Week.
Following the interview former players Brent Barry and Isiah Thomas felt the stance Westbrook took was brilliant. Barry specifically credited Westbrook for handling the questions in the manner he did because it’s a personal situation between Russ and Durant.
Suffice to say, the media isn’t likely to stop asking and Russell Westbrook isn’t about to feel the need to respond.