Nearly six months to the day after being traded to the Houston Rockets in a stunning swap for Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook returned to Oklahoma City for the first time in an opposing uniform on Thursday evening. In a scheduling quirk, the Jan. 9 contest between the two teams is the only matchup in Oklahoma City this season and, to ensure Westbrook’s availability, the Rockets even gave him the night off in Atlanta on Wednesday.
In on-brand Westbrook fashion, he made a grand entrance to Chesapeake Energy Arena, rocking a shirt with “no regrets” prominently displayed.
The shirt drew plenty of attention once the video made the rounds, but Westbrook’s sentiment wasn’t negative, as the back of the hoodie he was wearing over top of the shirt listed what he accomplished with the Thunder.
For context, the back of the shirt has this on it, listing his accomplishments in OKC. If you misinterpreted it, it’s nothing but a positive fashion choice for Westbrook. pic.twitter.com/Uyf7jLnoHp
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) January 10, 2020
Westbrook’s shoe choice also sent that message, expressing his thanks to Oklahoma City with custom Jordans.
Russell Westbrook’s Jordans for his first game back in OKC tonight honor his 11 seasons with the @OKCThunder and feature his career stats, the franchise’s colors and a simple “Thank You.”
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) January 10, 2020
Before tip-off, the Thunder aired a moving tribute to Westbrook, with a beautiful video that showed his on-court accomplishments and reflected on the relationship between himself and the city.
Russ returns to OKC. Here's our tribute video he watched in the arena tonight. pic.twitter.com/tNsf3J8nGe
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 10, 2020
The crowd reacted with a justified standing ovation, and the former MVP seemed really happy to return to the place he used to call home.
Standing ovation for Russell Westbrook in his return to OKC. Awesome. pic.twitter.com/uyqLiANcTs
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) January 10, 2020
Westbrook played in Oklahoma City for 11 seasons, earning eight All-Star nods and an MVP award while also appearing in the NBA Finals. That is an impressive list of accomplishments on its own but, on this night, there was no doubt that the love-fest went beyond the hardwood and a fantastic atmosphere ensued.