Russell Westbrook has put up MVP-caliber numbers one season after teammate Kevin Durant won the award, but he's had his eye on another award.
“It’s been one of my main goals all season,” said Westbrook of the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. “I want it.”
Lee Jenkins writes that the change in Westbrook when away from cameras and tape recorders is significant.
“People who don’t know me probably think I’m mad all the time, and with the way I play, they have a point,” he says. “But I’m not Angry Man off the court. I’m a laid-back chill guy.”
Westbrook plays with a manic energy and it comes from his approach to the game.
“There are many times throughout a season that you may not feel like playing,” says Westbrook. “You may not want to play on this night, or against this team. But I don’t feel that way. This is one of the best jobs in the world, and you never know how long you’ll be able to do it—how long you’ll be able to run like this and jump like this. So I go for it. I go for it every time. It may look angry, but it’s the only way I know.”
Westbrook has had to take on a bigger role with Durant out for most of the season.
“He plays with a rage that ignites this whole team, this whole arena,” said Durant.