Oklahoma City Thunder

Was Russell Westbrook The Inspiration Behind Taylor Swift’s Newest Single?

Was Russell Westbrook The Inspiration Behind Taylor Swift’s Newest Single?

Taylor Swift released her newest single on Monday, the aptly titled “Shake It Off”, which is a foray deeper into pop music than she has ever gone before. She also announced her upcoming album, 1989, which she said would be her first all-pop album, leaving her country roots behind for bright lights and upbeat, well, beats. If you haven’t seen the video, it’s definitely interesting, and not exactly what you think of when you think of Taylor Swift:

So, yeah. That’s Taylor’s new video. I think it’s fantastic and she is perfect in displaying her flaws and the fact that she’s so open about it is truly an amazing trait that you just don’t find in every… Oh, umm, what? The outfits! Yes, let’s start with the outfits. Taylor is traditionally fairly conservative in what she wears, but this video went in a totally different direction. So what happened? Maybe she really is trying to go in a new direction, or maybe she was inspired. By Russell Westbrook. I mean, which one of those outfits wouldn’t he wear? He’s already done like half of them:


Ok, so maybe that’s a coincidence. Maybe. But that’s just the beginning. As far as can be told, Russell and Taylor have never met, and at least if they have, it wasn’t a big deal and no pictures were taken. But Russ is a huge fan of Taylor’s, and often listens to her music before games. He also makes Vines with her music. Beautiful Vines:

So all it took was for Taylor to see or hear some of this and do some research into the wonderfulness that is Russell Westbrook. You know, figure out who this Russell Westbrook dude is and see if anything could be learned from him. Does this sound like a bit of a stretch? Yes. It does. But it’s not! A deeper look into the lyrics reveals the truest truth:

“Got nothing in my brain
That’s what people say

Taylor puts it right out there at the beginning of the song. This is a track with the critics in mind, and she’s taking a stand against them. Russ deals with much of the same, and despite his continued amazing performances, the critics always manage to take shots at his bad decision making. Sometimes they’re right, but he moves on (via SBNation):


“But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop moving”

That sounds a lot like the Russell Westbrook we all know and sometimes want to scream at. He’s a force of nature on the court, and he always makes his presence felt, for better or for worse. This is Russell Westbrook though, and his unbridled passion makes him the player he is:

“Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
Shake it off
Shake if off”

This chorus was written by Russell Westbrook. There. I said it. He first puts himself in a different category from the “players” and the game they “play” because he’s simply on another level. His performances in this year’s playoffs were on par with the greats in history, and yet the haters were still out in full force every single time he made a mistake. And what does Russ do? He shakes it off, shakes it off:

“I never miss a beat
I’m lighting on my feet
And that’s what they don’t see

More emphasis on Russ’ speed. Not only are his speed and athleticism his biggest assets on the court, but they often lead him to places where only he can be, so it’s hard for “them” to understand. But what they don’t see is what it takes to play and finish at those lightning speeds. It makes the game that much harder. Sometimes the tasks set forth are just too much, but other times, the forces he uses to counter them are just right: 

“I’m dancing on my own
I make the moves up as I go
And that’s what they don’t know

SHOTS FIRED! GET DOWN SCOTTY! NEW AT ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE: RUSSELL WESTBROOK PUTS SCOTT BROOKS ON SMASH IN NEW TAYLOR SWIFT SONG. These lines are all about Russell Westbrook’s most obvious privilege, which also happens to be his biggest demon: the freedom and power he is awarded by his coach, Scott Brooks. What if the Thunder had an offense with a bunch of options, so Russ didn’t have to improvise so often? That’s what they don’t know, mmm-mmm:

“My ex-man brought his new girlfriend
She’s like ‘oh my god, I’ll just let it shake’
And to the fella over there with the hella good hair
Won’t you come on over baby we can shake, shake, shake”

Russell’s ex-man? Well that would have to be James Harden, former Thunder teammate and the never-going-to-go-away 800 pound beard in the room. His new, annoying girlfriend? Patrick Beverley, the most annoying player this side of the asteroid belt. The fella over there, with the hella good hair that Russell seems to enjoy the presence of? Shouldn’t that be obvious:


“But I can’t make ‘em stay
At least that’s what people say

But there is yet another thing that just won’t be going away anytime soon. Back in the beginning of Taylor’s newest hit, she says the lines above. “I can’t make ‘em stay” is a reference to the thought that Taylor is a bad girlfriend, which in turn has inspired much of her music. Now I don’t know if she’s actually a bad girlfriend, we haven’t been able to connect to this point in our lives, though I’m pretty sure we could make it work. It would of course take some effort with her complex travel schedule, and the fact that she has literally made millions singing about her failed relationships, but that doesn’t scare me, Taylor. We could laugh at that together, while we sing your songs and… Woah. Sorry. Anyway, it kind of sounds like she could be saying “But I can’t make HIM stay”, which is obviously a reference to the thought that Kevin Durant might be leaving Oklahoma City, and that Russell Westbrook might not be enough to make him stay. This idea is premature. It is also completely insane.

When it comes to teammates, Russell Westbrook is one of the best that can be found. Not only is he a top player in the game, but he inspires others around him with his unlimited energy. It’s also pretty clear at this point that he inspired Taylor Swift’s newest single as well. It’s not everyday that a star point guard inspires one of his favorite artists to change the direction of her entire career, but this is Russell Westbrook we’re talking about. And if you have a problem with any of this, let your voice be heard, but you know Russ is just going to “shake, shake, shake, shake, shake. Shake it off. Shake it off. Oooohooo!”

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