Russell Westbrook was admitted to the Hall of Fame of Oklahoma City, and in addition received a possibly even greater recognition of Michael Jordan himself. The best player of all time had an opening speech and introduced the star of the evening, the Thunder point guard.
“I did not think for a second when i was invited to be a presenter for Russell Westbrook because i have a lot of respect for Clay Bennett (owner of OKC). I’m not from Oklahoma, but I feel like I am”, began his flying Highness. “I’m a big fan of Russell Westbrook. When i watch him play, i recognize the commitment and passion with which i’ve also played basketball. When i used to go out on the court, i thought that someone is watching me play for the first time in my life and that motivated me. This guy has the same passion and respect for the game.”
— ESPN (@espn) November 18, 2016
Michael Jordan turned the attention to Westbrook’s contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the moment when Kevin Durant decided to go to the Golden State Warriors.
“You here in Oklahoma must follow his loyalty,” said Jordan, and then followed a long round of applause. “He could easily come to Charlotte, but he decided to stay here,” joked the owner of the Hornets, who noted that he once wanted to bring Westbrook in his team, but general manager Sam Presti didn’t allow that.
The whole Jordan’s speech was very inspiring.
“I’m not here to accuse those who are not here, everyone has their own choice. However, his decision to stay made me proud, and this knows Russell and Clay Bennett, i sent them a message. You people here have one special guy. He did a lot for the game, but also for the whole community. These days I hung out with his family, which is also remarkable. The passion he has is not taught, he’s been born with it. He shares it with you every day and you should be proud of it” concluded Michael Jordan.
Russell Westbrook and all of the inductees/presenters at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/ZVpJHnFmBe
— Dylan Buckingham (@DylanBuckingham) November 17, 2016
A year ago, Kevin Durant was admitted to the Hall of Fame of Oklahoma City. The presenter was Westbrook. Back then Durant said he hoped that the next year they’ll gather for the inauguration of Westbrook. This is exactly what happened, but Durant was not present.
“The people of Oklahoma are amazing and I’m grateful that they have accepted me and my family,” said Westbrook, and then thanked Michael Jordan. “He’s the best player in the history of the game. He’s done so much for basketball, to push back boundaries and enabled and a guy like me to compete at the highest level. And out of the court he has created a great brand, something that i want when i finish my career. It’s hard to compare yourself with the best ever”.
The words that Michael Jordan used to describe Russell Westbrook are probably greater recognition than the Hall of Fame of Oklahoma City induction. But Russell Westbrook certainly deserved it. He was drafted in 2008 by the Seattle SuperSonics and along with Nick Collison is the only remaining member of the team that has packed his bags and moved from Seattle to Oklahoma.