Russell Westbrook is onto his third team in as many seasons. The former league MVP was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets last offseason, and after a year in H-Town, Westbrook was moved to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall and a future Draft selection.
The move reunites Westbrook with Scott Brooks, his former head coach in Oklahoma City, and makes him one half of an interesting backcourt alongside Bradley Beal. It also includes a fun quirk: For the first time in his NBA career, Westbrook will wear something other than zero on his jersey. The team announced on Friday that Westbrook will adopt the number four on his shirt this year, instead.
Russell Westbrook will wear4️⃣! pic.twitter.com/KVGbSfiOg6
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) December 4, 2020
For a guy as superstitious as Westbrook — his free throw percentage once dipped because an NBA rule change meant he could not do his usual routine at the line — it’s a bit strange to not see him wear the number he’s always worn. But as he explained on Saturday afternoon during his first media appearance as a member of the Wizards, there are some sentimental reasons for Westbrook to throw this number on his uniform this season.
Russell Westbrook said he had an opportunity to pick No. 0 but it was his first time to go back to his original No. 4. “Four is my favorite number,” he says. Says it reminds him of his family, which he has four members of. “And that’s what I play for.” He wore No. 4 in HS.
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) December 5, 2020
It might take a little getting used to, but it’s a really cool gesture that pays tribute to a number of things and people who are near and dear to Westbrook’s heart. Still, it won’t take as much getting used to as Russell Westbrook in the Eastern Conference.