Russell Westbrook's 2016-17 season has been defined by his guided rage. Once Kevin Durant left for greener pastures in California last summer, the Thunder's lead guard seemed to have only one thing on his mind: destroying everything and everyone in his path.
Reporters have been a part of that phenomenon. The most recent example came after the Thunder's Game 4 loss to the Rockets on Sunday night. Longtime Oklahoman columnist and Westbrook foe Berry Tramel asked Steven Adams about the team's struggles sans Westbrook, and the MVP candidate lost it:
This is the latest but perhaps not the greatest example of Westbrook's disdain for the media. He has never hidden his annoyance at having to answer questions for reporters after games, and rather than put on a smile and dole out canned answers, Westbrook has a history of letting the media know when he's irritated. Check out a few of the best examples of this below.
"I Just Don't Like You"
Fresh off dropping a triple-double during a 2015 home victory against the Warriors, you would have thought Westbrook would be in a celebratory mood. But when he came out to face the media, Westbrook went into overkill mode with the word "execution." He answered every question with just about the same exact response.
When a reporter finally asked what gives, Westbrook didn't pull any punches, and he told Tramel—yes, the same guy asking the question to Adams up top—that he was not a fan of his.
The rivalry with Tramel stems from a number of scathing columns written by the reporter over the years. You might recognize him as the man who wrote the infamous column calling Kevin Durant, "Mr. Unreliable."
"What's Your Favorite Fashion Brand?"
Less than a year after Durant left Westbrook's side to join the Warriors, the Thunder guard was selected to play on the Western Conference All-Star team alongside Golden State's core this past February. This awkward situation was great fodder for conversation, and there was no telling how a volatile figure like Westbrook would react to the opportunity.
Turns out Westbrook wasn't all that interested in talking about the scenario with reporters before the game. When pressed on the weird tag-team, he quickly changed gears and chatted with a reporter about Saint Laurent's summer collection. He also eventually let the grudge go for just a moment, as Russ and KD hooked up for an alley-oop early in the All-Star game.
"No More Questions for You, Bro"
Players tend to avoid talking about each other's money to reporters. As part of a broader union, they're all working together in some capacity to get the best deals for guys all over the league. A contract win for a teammate (or even a rival) is a win for players as a whole.
Somebody should have told that to this reporter before he asked Westbrook about whether or not James Harden deserved a max contract back in 2012. After briefly praising Harden's contributions to the Thunder—it's still hard to believe these two and Durant played together at one time—Westbrook made it clear he was done with questions from this reporter.
"I Don't Give a F*ck About the Line"
During Game 2 of the Thunder's 2017 first-round series against Houston, Westbrook scored 51 points, the most ever scored by a player while recording a triple-double in a playoff game. It was a landmark achievement, and despite losing to the Rockets, it was worth talking about after the game was over.
Maybe not with Westbrook, though. He didn't seem to care too much about the feat after his team went down 2-0 in the series, and he eventually caught a hefty $15,000 fine from the NBA for the language he directed at a reporter.
"Bro, What Are You Talking About, Man?"
Not all of Westbrook's outbursts seem totally justified, but this is one case where we think he's 100 percent in the right. Following a loss to the Jazz in 2013, a reporter asked Westbrook a simple but poorly-worded question: "Did you guys lose this game or did the Jazz win this one?"
Though it's not too difficult to figure out what he meant—he simply wanted to know who was more responsible for the end result—we should all be grateful for the weird phrasing. The stink face and angst-filled reaction briefly turned Westbrook into a meme, and it remains one of his most iconic moments away from the court.
"F*ck Do I Look Like?"
After the Cavaliers took down the Warriors on Christmas Day 2016, a video emerged of Westbrook messing around during a Thunder shootaround session. The guard was spotted running off the court and yelling something that initially sounded like, "Thank you Kyrie!" which fans took as a dig at his old buddy Durant.
Not so fast, said Westbrook. In the above video, Westbrook explained he was talking to his trainer's daughter, Jamie, and went so far as to say, "I would never say no other man's name like that, for one." We'll have to take his word for it, but even if he didn't yell Irving's name, we have to believe Westbrook still took a little joy from watching the Warriors go down on Christmas.