On Thursday afternoon, LeBron James and Steph Curry took part in the first-ever NBA All-Star draft. They went through the long list of this season’s NBA All-Stars and chose who will play alongside each of them on their respective teams during the All-Star Game next month. And when the draft was over, LeBron shared the list of players who will be running with him.
Most people looked at the list and quickly realized LeBron had put the players on his team into alphabetical order. We’d guess he did this to avoid revealing who he had picked first as well as who he had picked last. In fact, we’d guess the NBA chose not to televise this portion of the All-Star process specifically to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. People on social media would have inevitably made a huge deal over whoever ended up going last in the draft.
But when Russell Westbrook first saw the list, he didn’t realize it was in alphabetical order. All he saw was his name at the bottom of it, and he mistakenly believed LeBron had taken him with the last pick in the draft. Furthermore, he believed LeBron had taken John Wall with the pick ahead of him.
By chance, Westbrook and the Thunder played Wall and the Wizards on Thursday night, and Westbrook—possibly because he had seen LeBron's list just prior to the game—went off during the contest. He scored 46 points and threw down this thunderous dunk during Oklahoma City’s 121-112 win over Washington.
And when the game ended, he spoke with reporters about his thoughts on LeBron picking him to play on his team in the All-Star Game. Westbrook said it was "cool," but his teammate Carmelo Anthony yelled at him and told him to tell everyone "how you really feel." Westbrook smiled before admitting he was a little miffed about being picked last.
"I see I was the last pick on the list," he said. "I was just trying to figure out how…"
At that point, Westbrook was informed about the list being in alphabetical order, and a light bulb went off in his head. He responded by yelling back at Carmelo. "See, I told you, man!" Westbrook said. "Alphabetical order, man! Of course I was first!"
It was a funny, lighthearted moment in the end. But after Westbrook admitted he thought he went last in the draft, him dropping 46 points on Wall and Wizards suddenly made so much sense.
Draft misunderstanding aside, LeBron’s decision to select Westbrook in the All-Star draft will reunite him with his former teammate Kevin Durant. KD went first overall in the draft to LeBron’s team, and he had a pretty classic reaction to it on Thursday night. He put up the Players’ Tribune meme that everyone always uses against him on Instagram to announce how happy he is to be playing with LeBron’s team. He also put his Warriors teammate Curry on notice and said he’s gunning for him in the All-Star Game. Curry picked Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in the draft but not Durant.
The All-Star Game will take place on Feb. 18. If all this buildup to it is any indication, it should be a pretty decent—and dare we say competitive?—game.