In my 10+ years doing this, it still amazes me that more players don’t shut down reporters left and right for asking stupid, antagonistic questions, because it happens every day. I can’t tell you how many locker rooms, press conferences and media events that I have been to where some guy trying to get a rise out of a player just to get a headline will ask something ridiculous.
So, good for Russell Westbrook for not falling into a reporter’s trap during a press conference over the weekend. After James Harden went berserker against the Mavs, said reporter asked Russ in a press conference setting if he thought Harden is a max-contract player. That’s a no-win question for Westbrook – no matter what the response would have been if answered directly, it would have generated some sort of headline drama.
In the video below, you can see Westbrook politely evade the question and then, after thinking about it for a second, hits the guy with, “No more questions for you, bro.”
People always bemoan the boring, cliched responses given to reporters by NBA players. Why, though, should they expect anything different from players when they are basically being set up by beat writers and bloggers on a daily basis?
Really, the only NBA player I’ve ever seen regularly go right back at writers when they ask something meant to spark some kind of reaction is Stephon Marbury. Back in the day, he would shoot you a look or call you out on the spot. I know, he got me once – and I absolutely deserved it for asking him about Allen Iverson kicking his ass in a recent game. It didn’t go over well.
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