For three seasons, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook all existed on the same Oklahoma City Thunder roster. But the trio that led the Thunder to its first and only NBA Finals appearance have long since gone their separate ways. Until now. Westbrook, the longest-tenured member of OKC, was traded to Houston on Thursday, reuniting with Harden for the first time since 2012.
After Paul George requested a trade out of Oklahoma City to join Kawhi Leonard in Los Angeles, the writing was one the wall for Westbrook, who had reportedly approached the Thunder about a trade following their first-round playoff loss to the Portland Trail Blazers this summer.
Westbrook has been the sole face of the franchise after Durant departed for Golden State in 2016, and after spending 11 seasons in OKC, he’d become a huge part of the community, as well. So it was fitting, then, that the night Westbrook was traded, he was hosting his Why Not?? pop up comedy show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he briefly addressed the crowd that had come to see him for maybe the last time. After thanking everyone for coming out and supporting the comedy show, Westbrook paused.
“And thank you guys in Tulsa for supporting me all these years. I appreciate it,” he said, as massive cheers went up in the background.
Westbrook then took time to take photos with the throng of fans who had come to see him. Westbrook might be a member of the Houston Rockets now, but his impact on the state of Oklahoma is abundantly clear.