Thank you, Russell Westbrook; a trip down memory lane

Russell Westbrook of the OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook of the OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant #35, Russell Westbrook #0 and James Harden #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder win the Western Conference Finals and reach their first NBA Finals.

The 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder established themselves as a league’s powerhouse franchise. The Thunder were able to capture the first overall seed out west with 64 record season wins on the year. Again, Russ was an MVP, putting up 23 points per game five assists and four rebounds.

This year’s NBA playoff run was spectacular for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Russell Westbrook, as you would expect from a team that earned an NBA Finals birth.

The Thunder got revenge on the reigning champion Dallas Mavericks sweeping them out of the first round, a series that included two games where Russ nearly turned in 30 points.

Oklahoma City and Russell Westbrook also got their revenge on the first ever team to knock them out of the postseason, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Westbrook averaged 25 points per game, four assists, and five rebounds. This series also birthed arguably the most iconic moment in Russ’ career.

In the third quarter of Game 5 in a 70-70 game, with the Thunder a win away from back-to-back Western Conference Finals appearances, Russell Westbrook pulled off a play only he could.

Russell Westbrook jumped the passing lane to tip the pass ahead, controlled the ball and dashed down the court. Westbrook was met around the free throw line by Ramon Sessions who fouled Westbrook out of desperation to try and prevent an easy fast break bucket.

Westbrook simply flipped the ball up in the air as Sessions wrapped his arms around the locomotive Westbrook and Russ banked it in.

The Thunder crowd went wild, so loud you could no longer hear the TV broadcaster if you were watching at home.

After the basket was counted setting up an and-one opportunity, Westbrook ran to the sidelines then pulled off an iconic strut down the sidelines while screaming almost as loud as Thunder fans in excitement. A strut and celebration many kids around the Oklahoma City area tried to pull off the next day in their driveways, and beyond.

A disgusted Kobe Bryant (who the pass was intended for) looked on in disgrace, the feeling of being bounced by the Thunder setting in.

That was a moment in Thunder and Russell Westbrook history you will never forget where you were when it happened.

The Thunder went on to defeat the San Antonio Spurs. After trailing two games to none in the series the team rattled off four straight wins in the Western Conference Finals to earn their first NBA Finals appearance in Oklahoma City Thunder history.

Russell Westbrook had an electric NBA Finals, featuring a 43 point effort in game four of the series, and a double-double in game one that saw Westbrook score 27 points and 11 assists.

However, the Thunder lost that series to the Miami Heat, giving LeBron and the big 3 their first title together.

Everyone knows that iconic picture from this series. James Harden with his arms around Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and a towel over Harden’s head.

At the time, that was a picture of hope. At the time, it was a picture signifying a dynasty. A homegrown big three, to come back and defeat the purchased big three. Instead, Harden was traded before the next season started, and the Thunder never made it back to the NBA Finals during Westbrook’s era.