AFTER being left off the starting lineup of the Western Conference team Russell Westbrook said he does not play for “All-Star nods” but for “championships.,”
“Just move on,” Westbrook said to reporters at the Oklahoma City Thunder practice on Friday (Saturday, manila time). “It is what it is. It’s the nature of the business and the game. Just play.”
The OKC star is currently on a tear and is the only player averaging a triple-double in three major categories: 30.6 points per game (1st in the NBA) , 10.4 assists (2nd) and 10.6 rebounds (11th).
“I don’t play for All-Star nods or All-Star bids, but to win championships, and every night I compete at a high level. It’ll work out. Just continue to do what I’m doing and play the right way, and everything else will work out.”
There was a lot of backlash online soon as the All-Star Game starting lineups were named last Thursday and a lot of NBA players also gave their two cents’ worth.
Thunder center Enes Kanter tweeted that Westbrook has 21 triple-doubles compared to the combined 19 of the All-Star starters, “Nobody deserves to start in the All-Star Game over Russ.”
Anthony Morrow, another teammate, added “I know he won’t care either way, it’s all about the team but nobody deserves to start in the All-Star Game over Russ.”
NBA legend Charles Barkley branded the situation “disrespectful” while Kevin Garnett described it as the biggest All-Star snub in the history of the NBA.
Even as two-time and current MVP Stephen Curry and Houston Rockets star James Harden were chosen by the majority of fans, it was Westbrook who received the most number of votes from fellow NBA players and the basketball media who each comprised 25 percent of the total votes.
“Honestly, one way or another, it doesn’t change anything for me. That’s a great honor. Being an All-Star is something you don’t take for granted, but like I said, for me, I don’t play to play in the All-Star,” he added. “There’s guys that may play to play in the All-Star, but I don’t play to do that. I play to become a better player and play to win a championship.