Russell Westbrook is shining.
Did you know that he didn’t make the starting lineup at Leuzinger High until his junior year? Or that he didn’t receive his first recruiting letter until just before his senior year? Or that he played just nine minutes per game during his first year at UCLA? That wasn’t very long ago.
Yet now we’re looking at the NBA’s next star, the best point guard you’ve ever seen, the most jaw-dropping athlete in the world—a 6'3", 26-year-old sensation that dunks like Godzilla, dominates like Jordan, and styles like your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper.
Westbrook isn’t just unique; he’s something we’ve never seen before. His combination of on-court ruthlessness has Kobe marveling. His off-court self-awareness has brands turning their keys over. Whereas it was once unfathomable to list the Oklahoma City Thunder as anything but Kevin Durant’s team, it’s now a legitimate question, and that has less to do with problematic injuries for KD and more to do with Westbrook’s innate desire—his need, to have it all.
On the heels of a February that saw the NBA’s leading scorer average 31.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 10.3 assists per game—numbers that have somehow improved in March—there was never a better time to celebrate the rise of the man leading the modern athlete into a new world.
Here is An Illustrated History of Russell Westbrook.
Illustrations by Timothy McAuliffe (@thegoldvan)