Mark Cuban raised a few eyebrows when he claimed that Thunder guard Russell Westbrook wasn’t a superstar. To Cuban, a superstar is someone who you can put “on any team and they’ll win 50 games.” Westbrook has never done this – mostly because he’s never really had to do this until now – so he is not a superstar.
Is it a perfect argument? Not really, because there are plenty of incredible basketball players who most people would define as superstars who have never carried a team to 50+ wins. It was absurd when Cuban said this, but he wanted to set the bar as “leader on a team that wins 50 games,” which is his decision.
Cuban got the chance to clarify his comments after Westbrook has his seventh-straight triple-double in a 102-99 loss to Houston on Friday. On the year, Westbrook is averaging 30.9 points, 11.3 assists, and 10.8 rebounds per game, which is totally insane. Most people would say that a guy who puts up numbers like this is obviously a superstar, because averaging a triple-double is something that hasn’t happened since the 1962-63 season.
But when Cuban sees Westbrook, he doesn’t see a dude who is working on a potentially historic season. Instead, he sees a guy who is on a team that is 14-9. Ergo…
“He’s putting up superstar numbers. That’s for damn sure,” Cuban said of Westbrook as the Thunder took on the Houston Rockets on Friday night. “I’m not taking anything away from what he’s been able to accomplish, but I’m not going to change my definition. He’s putting up superstar numbers. You can’t deny that.”
“That’s no disrespect to Russell,” Cuban said. “He’s been a beast. Few have done what he’s done, but I’ll stick by my definition. I’m not saying that he’s not going to prove me wrong and that he [won’t be] a superstar by the end of the year. That’s fine, but I’ll stick by my definition.”
The good news is that Cuban seems like he wants to be proven wrong, which is nice. But still, being so convinced that leading a team to 50 wins is the only thing someone can do to be called a superstar is a bit off-base.
Russell Westbrook is a superstar, no matter what Mark Cuban defines as a “superstar.”