OKC Thunder: Good, bad and ugly of Russell Westbrook’s interactions with fans

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 25: Russell Westbrook
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 25: Russell Westbrook /

In light of Russell Westbrook recently gifting a young OKC Thunder fan with a shoe, here’s the good, bad and ugly of his interactions with fans.

Love him or hate him, OKC Thunder star Russell Westbrook is one of the most polarizing players in the NBA. His high-energy, and sometimes reckless, style of play is a double-edged sword. His emotion and heart leads to a lot of great moments, but as his critics quickly point out, some questionable decisions as well.

For all of the negativity Westbrook receives, the love from Thunder fans more than compensates. OKC fans are sometimes the only ones who have his back in tough times, and the feeling is clearly mutual.

To say that Westbrook is a fan favorite would be an understatement. So for fans to get a chance to meet him is usually a treat. For fans of other teams, however, the interaction isn’t always peaceful. And the recent shoe giveaway to a young man in Oklahoma City brought back some old memories.

The Ugly

Shortly after the final horn in game six of the playoff loss to the Jazz last season, things got a little heated between Westbrook and a Utah fan. With several people screaming at Westbrook as he exited the floor in frustration, one guy got a little too close trying to get a video.

The result of the incident didn’t end well for the fan who had his phone slapped out of his hand and got a mean look from Westbrook who was being restrained by security. Of all players to mess with, Westbrook is one of the last guys anyone should challenge, especially after such a heated series.

The Bad

When the Nuggets upset Oklahoma City in February of last year, things got a little heated on the sidelines. For reasons still unknown, a Nuggets fan sitting court side took it upon himself to rub in the win to Westbrook who was walking off the court.

Simply put, the fan got what he deserved. He received a firm shove by Brodie and was then taken away by security. And even though Westbrook initiated contact, the media didn’t seem to have much of an issue with how he handled the situation.

The Good

Of course, Westbrook has a different side to him if approached the right way. Especially when it’s his younger supporters who make an extra effort to see him.

During the pre-game warmup on Sunday, Westbrook offered a kid his shoe for the slice of pizza he was holding. In the end, the kid walked away with a shoe and got to keep his slice of pizza. Likely a moment the child will never forget and a nice gesture by Westbrook.