The video game culture for the Oklahoma City Thunder has become a genuine part of their appeal. There are all sorts of stories about how the team is always having video game nights or how all they do outside of basketball is go to someone’s house and hit the sticks. That sounds like something we’d do. Actually, we did do that…all through college and high school. So it was fitting that Russell Westbrook, along with Kevin Garnett, were out at the Stages in Playa Vista, Calif. this past Friday, waging war in the first-ever Call of Duty XP event with Call of Duty XP attendees and military personnel. It made for the ultimate Pros vs. GI Joes Call of Duty Grudge Match.
It was the first opportunity for anyone to play the newest release in the series, the upcoming Modern Warfare 3. The event went on most of the weekend and included live performance by Kanye West and Dropkick Murphys. Chris Bosh and Kevin Love were also in attendance. Fans got the chance to not only play but had the chance to compete in the Call of Duty $1 million dollar tournament presented by Xbox 360.
I got a few minutes to catch up with Westbrook to talk video games, summer school and what he’s been doing since OKC lost in the Western Conference Finals.
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Dime: So how’s this Call of Duty event? Has it been fun?
Russell Westbrook: Yessir. It’s a Call of Duty event, a charity event playing against KG. We are just out here having some fun.
Dime: How’d you get involved with Call of Duty?
RW: Well I grew up playing the game and I know a few people so I’m pretty interested in how the new game will come out. This was an event for me to be at where we could do that.
Dime: I’ve heard stories that y’all out in Oklahoma City are all huge video game guys. Do you play a lot together?
RW: Oh definitely. In Oklahoma City, we are kinda chill and laid back. We definitely do a lot of video games up there.
Dime: Who’s the best player on the team, video game wise?
RW: Ah, I’d have to say myself you know?
Dime: What games you guys usually play?
RW: Ah 2K, Call of Duty and a little bit of Konect.
Dime: So far this summer, what’s it been like watching your boy KD destroying everybody?
RW: Oh it’s been good man. He’s doing a good job of going at ’em and representing, man. That’s what he does. He’s passionate about what he does, and he’s getting better.
Dime: Do you guys stay in touch a lot?
RW: Definitely. I’ve seen him a few times. Definitely talk to him and check on him to make sure everything’s all right.
Dime: Are you guys talking at all about what you want to do next season as a duo and then as a team as well?
RW: Not yet. We know as a team we want to get better and come back and try to lead our team to the next step.
Dime: What have you been doing this summer? We haven’t seen you in any of the major playground games…
RW: Nah. Not at all. I’ve just been working out, man. Just working out, trying to get my game right and my mind prepared for next year.