Russell Westbrook on Allen Iverson’s recent compliments of RW’s game pic.twitter.com/QQjBiiq7Bi
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 22, 2015
It’s becoming increasingly clear if the Thunder are going to take the final playoff spot in the West, they’ll have to do so without Serge Ibaka or Kevin Durant. That means Russell Westbrook will have to go it alone, something Allen Iverson is familiar with after taking a nameless group of Sixers players to the Finals in 2001.
That’s why it made sense when AI recently said he was “the biggest Westbrook fan, I think, there is.”
When Russ was asked about the compliment before today’s Thunder-Heat game in Oklahoma City, he showed some deference to the former MVP, even if he always seems uncomfortable talking about individual merits.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Russ says in the above video. “Allen Iverson did a lot of great things for this league and a lot of great things for the city of Philadelphia.”
But when he was asked whether he watched the 6-foot AI (he’s substantially smaller than that) growing up, his answer might surprise you:
That’s no slight on Iverson. It shouldn’t shock us one of the most unusual players in NBA history — and there’s only one Russ — didn’t watch a lot of basketball as a kid. It probably made it easier for him to ignore those who have questioned the chaotic way he’s played the point guard position, and stay true to his own game, however that might piss of fans who unfairly mythologize players from the past, to the detriment of those in the present.
We’d still probably nominate AI as Westbrook’s closest approximation even if, according to Russ, he wasn’t practicing his crossover after baring witness to AI toasting MJ. The best players always steal from the all-time greats, but Westbrook’s own way works pretty well too.