By now you are all familiar with the ferociousness that is Russell Westbrook the basketball player. The intimidating, at times abrasive supernova of an NBA point guard.
But like all professional athletes, he is a human being as well.
The human side of Westbrook is a fascinating case study in its own right. His history prior to the NBA is well-known to an extent — nearly missing out on a basketball scholarship out of high school, considered a math scholarship to Stanford prior to his ultimate destination at UCLA for basketball.
Since his entry into the league in 2008, Westbrook’s elevation into the upper-echelon of the NBA has given him a platform to give back to the community.
He famously gave the Kia he won as the 2015 All-Star Game MVP to an Oklahoma City single-mother. His Why Not? Foundation has set up multiple reading rooms across Oklahoma City public schools in an attempt to encourage reading amongst children.
Yesterday’s event marked the eighth Why Not? Bowl. A time where Westbrook is joined by his family, teammates, coaches and other Why Not? Foundation employees can sit back, relax and have fun with the accomplishments of Why Not? by enjoying some bowling.
From Why Not?:
This event will celebrate the foundation’s accomplishments including the Russell’s Reading Room initiative. The Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation is dedicated to support community based education and family service programs while encouraging youth to believe in themselves. The foundation strives to empower children to ask “Why Not?” when told they cannot succeed or when faced with adversity
The entire Oklahoma City Thunder team — minus Patrick Patterson and Corey Brewer — attended along with Westbrook’s wife, Nina, his son Noah, brother Raynard and his parents.
Westbrook admitted that when he was originally drafted by Oklahoma City (technically Seattle during the draft) he didn’t have much to do.
“When I first got here I didn’t have much to do,” Westbrook said during a brief media scrum. “I needed to find a hobby and I had never bowled before.”
After watching Westbrook bowl for an evening, it is safe to say he has made vast improvements in his game. The always confident Westbrook made everyone very aware who the best bowler on the team, and in his own family, was.
Among the sights that stood out — none other than the seven-foot mammoth that is Steven Adams.
Adams, in a bowling alley that was rather warm, continued to wear his camouflage rain jacket over his Why Not? shirt. He also chose to deny bowling shoes for his orange custom slide flip-flops with a cartoon face of Adams on them.
Westbrook doesn’t believe he could pull off bowling in slides like Adams.
“Steven can do whatever he wants. Flip-flops, shoes without socks,” Westbrook said. “I’m just thankful he is here and being apart of the night.”
It was a nice breath of fresh air for a team currently fighting for playoff positioning. With three days off before their trip to San Antonio on Thursday night, Westbrook and his teammates were able to enjoy an evening celebrating the reigning MVP’s charity work.
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