Oklahoma City Thunder’s all-star guard and MVP candidate Russell Westbrook racked up an astonishing triple-double on Wednesday in another historic display of his all-around greatness. He put up 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 21 assists, making him only the second man in NBA history to put up 20-20-20 in a game. With this performance in a 119-103 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, he joined NBA legend, Wilt Chamberlain as the only other player in NBA history to post this (very specific) triple-double record.
Chamberlain did it 51 years ago, way back in 1968 when put together 22 points, 25 rebounds, and 21 assists in a game for the Philadelphia 76ers against the Detroit Pistons.
Westbrook is already closing in on a third straight season averaging a triple-double. Back in the 2016-17 season, he set the record for most triple-doubles in a season with 42. That campaign sparked his three-year reign as the triple-double king, as he did it again last season. And now, aside from maintaining his triple-double average, he’s also managed to get himself on a two-man 20-20-20 list.
It was an Isaac Bonga miss that completed the 20-rebound mission Westbrook was in. Right there and then, he yelled something to the OKC faithful: “That’s for Nipsey!”
Ermias Joseph Asghedom, known professionally as Nipsey Hussle, was gunned down on Sunday in Los Angeles. He was only 33.
Westbrook and Hussle were actually friends; the rapper helped serve food to guests at Westbrook’s foundation’s Thanksgiving dinner in Los Angeles in 2016, and the Long Beach-born ballplayer showed up to celebrate the opening of Hussle’s apparel store, Marathon Clothing, in 2017.
“That wasn’t for me,” Westbrook told TNT’s Jason Terry in an on-court interview after the game. “That’s for Nipsey…that’s for my bro, rest in peace, Nipsey.”
Despite losing seven of their last 10 games, the Thunder are still playoff-bound, but they could use every win they can get in the final week of the regular season.
“Each game is important now,” Westbrook added. “I’m just thankful to be able to go out and compete at a high level. I’m thankful to have these teammates, thankful and humbled to be able to go out and play the game I love.”