Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook has thanked Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant for his recent defence of him amid criticism from the media.
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Westbrook came under fire for the number of shots that he was taking in games as he ultimately took the responsibility of dragging the Thunder through to the playoffs.
The explosive point guard registered 43 shots in a game earlier this week, and despite claiming the scoring title, he was left disappointed and frustrated at the team’s inability to make the playoffs.
OKC were forced to settle for ninth spot in the Western Conference as the New Orleans Pelicans secured the eighth and final playoff spot with the head-to-head tiebreaker after the two teams ended the regular season with identical records.
While that will take Westbrook some time to get over, he was thankful for Bryant standing up for him as the pair are both known to take a high volume of their respective team’s shots.
“That’s my guy. That’s my guy. That’s my guy. Kobe’s a good friend of mine and being in L.A. I was able to watch him and see him become a Hall of Famer and one of the best players to play the game. It’s an honor to be able to see somebody like that, to be able to have your back and support you,” Westbrook said, Royce Young of ESPN quoted him as saying on Twitter.
Bryant and Westbrook share several personality characteristics as both have a ruthlessness on the court to get the job done no matter what, and essentially neither care much for what the media have to say about it.
However, the Thunder star thrived on an individual level but was unable to consistently translate that into team success, and that ended up hurting them.
Both men will now take the off-season to recover, prepare and come out firing at their Western Conference rivals next season with Bryant likely to be featuring for the last time for a full season in the NBA with his contract expiring next summer.