Remember Russell Westbrook’s infamous “good job of execution” interview from January of 2015? It’s the one when he told local Oklahoma reporter Berry Tramel, “I just don’t like you” after being asked, “are you upset with something?” It’s the one right on the top of this page.
According to Tramel, Westbrook doesn’t or didn’t actually dislike him.
“When people ask, ‘Why doesn’t Westbrook like you?’ I have two standard answers,” Tramel said to Grantland back in March of 2015 — after Westbrook’s comments and after Kevin Durant went on his “Y’all not my friends” rant at All-Star weekend. “My joke is: He really does, he just doesn’t know it yet. My true answer is: He really doesn’t dislike me anymore than he dislikes somebody else. He couldn’t pick me out of a crowd.”
Well, on Sunday (April 23rd of 2017), the Oklahoman columnist felt the wrath of Westbrook again after asking Steven Adams a legitimate question most of us wanted to hear from Westbrook’s teammates: Steven, second time in three games you guys really struggled when Russell went to the bench. You were out there for part of it. What goes on when he goes to the bench, why is Houston so successful, and do you sense they sort of get an energy boost just from him going out of the game?
Before Adams could even open his mouth, a fidgeting, throat-clearing Westbrook intercepted the question and made this statement.
“I don’t want nobody to try to split us. We’re all one team. If I go to the bench, and Steven’s on the floor, if I’m off the floor, we’re in this together. Don’t try to split us up, don’t try to make us go against each other. Don’t make it ‘Russell and the rest of the guys’ or ‘Russell against Houston.’ I don’t want to hear that. We’re in this together. We played as a team, and that’s all that matters. That’s it.”
Tramel replied by saying “I’m not trying to split you up” then repeated his question directly to Westbrook.
“Say, ‘Russell, you ain’t played well at all.’ Say, ‘Russell and the team hasn’t played well.’ Don’t say, ‘When Russell goes out the team hasn’t played well.’ We’re in this together. It don’t matter.”
Tramel replied “That may be, but I asked Steven a question.”
An increasingly upset Westbrook came back with, “It’s not between me and you. Next question.”
After a few more “next questions” it sounded like somebody tried to take the mic from Tramel, who told the person, “I think I’m going to keep the microphone. I had a question for Steven, and it wasn’t answered. And I don’t understand,
if Steven wants to say anything, he still hasn’t said anything. If he wants to say, ‘I don’t want to answer that, fine.’”
Steven shrugged his head and Westbrook once again said, “Next question” but with a please this time.
I personally don’t have an issue with either Tramel or Westbrook in this case. Actually, I think Tramell challenging Westbrook and refusing to give the mic up until he got the answer to his legitimate question was a Westbrook worthy move on his part. And I think Westbrook’s answer might have been the most MVP worthy thing he’s done all season.
With that said, I still think Harden is the winner of the very close and exciting MVP race. I even have footage to prove it…