Russell Westbrook seeks continual growth as a player and leader. This weekend quality time spent with Paul George proves he intends to turn his vow to strengthen team bonding into actions.
As the face of the OKC Thunder franchise and team leader, Russell Westbrook designated building bonds with teammates a priority. Specifically, Westbrook wants to grow personally as a leader. Once Westbrook became the sole leader he recognized the value of these bonds and witnessed them pay dividends both on and off the court. Additionally, he believes the team gains success in season and it serves to keep the unit strong offseason due to the strong friendships off court.
Westbrook – vow for relationship building
And, he’s taking this commitment personal and seriously. Case in point, this weekend he met with Paul George to participate in a game of paintball. Hence, Westbrook is keeping the promise he made during his exit interview. His focus on “brotherhood” shows that he sees the importance of team chemistry and the big picture in life.
Russell Westbrook specifically stated in the interview that basketball is only temporary, but building friendships lasts a lifetime. This is a new side of Brodie to Thunder fans, as he’s always been known for his ferocity during games.
“Bonding as brothers is the most important thing to me,” Westbrook said. “Basketball is a short stint in your life, but friendships go a lot longer than that. So that was the most important thing to me. Just making sure we understood our upbringing, where we come from and learning about each one of us personally.”
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Russell Westbrook growing as a leader:
Russell Westbrook clearly doesn’t play the game to make friends and will do whatever it takes to dominate. Although Thunder fans love his hustle, the Westbrook haters of the world argue that he’s out of control.
Some go as far as saying he is the reason Kevin Durant left and Paul George is likely soon to follow. However, his recent paintball trip with George shows he’s going out of his way to be more than just teammates.
This deeper bond he’s been creating could be the difference in Paul George’s decision and bring some sanity to the Thunder’s circus of an off season to this point.
Understandably, things have been a bit hectic lately. OKC lost a playoff series they were capable of winning vaulting the franchise immediately into an unclear off season.
Rumors of Billy Donovan getting fired were swirling, a report that Paul George had already made up his mind to leave surfaced and drama with Carmelo Anthony intensified. Throughout it all, Westbrook made it clear his goal is to make this team a brotherhood.
That loyalty and show of friendship could be the deciding factor for George to stay and Anthony to work with the organization. George still has the option to opt-in to his final year and wait to make a long-term decision. For Anthony, maybe a show of friendship and loyalty would make a rotation change not seem like a personal attack.
Clearly, the Thunder organization is at a tipping point. Regardless of what happens this off season, Westbrook is here to stay. Thunder fans can rest easy knowing that Brodie has carried us before and will carry us again if necessary. And, with signs he’s committed to becoming a better leader it only bodes well for the future and team unity.