Over the last year, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has taken shots at Russell Westbrook on numerous occasions. Prior to Game 4 of the Thunder/Mavericks playoff series last April, Cuban said Westbrook is "not a superstar." He followed that up in December by saying that Westbrook was "putting up the numbers of a superstar" but not yet in the superstar category. And earlier this month, Cuban said that, while Westbrook is the "most explosive" player in the NBA right now, he doesn’t deserve to be in the NBA MVP conversation alongside guys like James Harden, LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard, who have all led their teams to the top of their respective conferences.
On Monday night, Westbrook made Cuban eat his words during a Thunder/Mavericks game in Dallas. He scored 37 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and dished out 10 assists to record his 37th triple-double of the 2016-17 NBA season. And he tallied 16 points in the fourth quarter alone and hit a game-winning jumper with 7 seconds left on the clock to help Oklahoma City overcome a 13-point deficit in the final four minutes of the game.
But despite his huge game, Westbrook took the high road when he was asked if playing against Cuban’s team provided him with a little bit of extra motivation. It seems he’s heard the things Cuban has said about him over the last year. But according to him, he plays the same way against Dallas that he would against any other team.
"I play every night the same way," he said. "I go out and compete, go out and compete at a high level each and every night. What he says doesn’t even matter to me. He’s gonna do his job and I’m gonna do mine."
Westbrook may not want to throw Cuban’s "superstar" comments back in his face, but that didn’t stop many NBA fans from doing it after Monday's game. Here’s a sample of what you could find on social media following Westbrook’s incredible performance against the Mavericks:
Cuban hasn’t said anything further about whether or not Westbrook has finally cemented himself as a superstar in his mind. But at this point, how can he possibly say that he’s not?