Now that he's back from injury, let's review: Russell Westbrook is well within his rights to make whatever fashion statements he wants, because he is a full grown man with agency and free will, and if the jollies he gets by wearing loud bold things that tweak us squares happen to coincide with the jollies we get by being like, "Yo, that looks ridiculous," then I think that's a pretty fair deal for all involved.
This is especially true because the thing that spurs the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard to wear stuff like a zebra/tiger-striped zip-up on national television:
... is the same kind of thing that sparks this pass:
... and this finish:
... and this improvisational look to the corner:
... and this coast-to-coast freight-train run:
Westbrook's general "no effs given" ethos is what makes him one of the league's most supremely watchable talents, one of its most explosive offensive players, one of its most gifted playmakers ... and, yes, one of its more garish dressers. If governing the latter would in any way compromise the former, then count me among those who hopes Russ continues to dress like a "Project Runway" contestant whose only inspiration is "The Fifth Element."
By the way, Westbrook scored 22 points on 10 for 20 shooting with four assists (albeit against five turnovers) in 33 minutes of playing time in the Thunder's 107-93 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. Oklahoma City's +12 in the 66 minutes he's played over two games, and is outscoring opponents by an average of 10.2 points per 100 possessions with him on the court, according to NBA.com's stat tool. (They've been outscored by 2.8-per-100 with him out of the lineup thus far. Small sample-size alert, etc., but they've looked way better with their All-Star point guard back to serve as a catalyst.)
He's also taking it upon himself to amp up his on-court energy, according to Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman:
Following his third straight bucket to start the game, a 15-foot pull-up jumper, Westbrook walked from halfcourt over to the far sideline, pumped his arms repeatedly and shouted to the crowd, bringing the fans to their feet just before the game’s first timeout.
“Mostly it’s for my teammates,” Westbrook said of his animated reactions. “To make sure we keep our energy up, keep us upbeat, keep us going. It helps other guys out when they see me hyped. They just follow along and we’re all hype together.”
Now, if they all start following along with Russell's pre-game decision-making, then the Thunder will really be something to keep an eye on.
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