There’s no telling how many words have been written over the past few weeks about Russell Westbrook’s unprecedented season. Whether you love him or hate him (and there seems to be no in between), he remains the most intoxicating player in the league for NBA fans. Everyone can’t help but discuss him.
I’ll spare you yet another take on what his season meant to basketball as a whole, and instead, present the top 20 moments from his outlandish year.
20. 03/27 – vs the Dallas Mavericks
Westbrook dropped a 37-13-10 triple double, carried the Thunder down the stretch, and nailed the game-winner. This is his least clutch performance on the list.
19. 03/18 and 04/14 – Russ becomes raps favorite NBA player
Westbrook is name-dropped on the two biggest rap records of the year, Drake’s More Life, and Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN in less than a month.
18. 01/23 and 02/28 – Westbrook owns the Utah Jazz
Russ twice broke the Jazz fans’ hearts, hitting a game-winner and scoring 11 of the Thunder’s final 13 points during their meeting in January, and then doing this during their February clash:
17. 10/27 – “Now I do What I Want”
The perfect marriage of song and athlete as Westbrook dances to Lil Uzi Vert’s “Now I Do What I Want” in a commercial for his Jordan Brand line.
16. 10/26 – Westbrook confronted by 76ers’ fan
When a Philadelphia fan hit Russell with the double birds on opening night, he had the perfect response. I feel like most people would not have responded as calmly.
15. 12/17 – The Shammgod
Westbrook uncorked a dirty Shammgod on poor Tyler Ulis before dishing it off to Steven Adams for the dunk.
14. 02/03 – A solo 15-0 run
Westbrook singlehandedly carried the Thunder to a win over the Grizzlies in February by scoring the team’s final 15 points.
13. 03/22 – The Perfect Triple-Double
Westbrook goes 6-6 from the field to go along with an 18-14-11 line against the Sixers for the first perfect triple-double in NBA history.
12. 03/17 – “Who is He?”
After he is told Steph Curry’s thoughts on the MVP race, Westbrook responds with this:
11. 03/07 – A new career-high
Although the Thunder fell to the Blazers, Westbrook set a new career-high with 58 points to go along with nine assists.
10. 03-16 – The Pass of the Season
Just watch it:
9. 03/29 – The 57-point triple-double
Of the NBA record four 50-point triple-doubles Russ churned out this year, the 57-13-11 he put up in an overtime victory over the Orlando Magic was the most impressive of the bunch.
8. 12/16 – The complete evisceration of Clint Capela
Only Russ could end a game like this. Instead of running the clock out, he ended poor Capela’s life before it even got started.
7-3. 07/04, 11/02, 12/25, 02/11, 02/18 – The end of the Durant-Westbrook friendship in five acts
On the Fourth of July, when Kevin Durant announced he’d be signing with the Golden State Warriors, the team he and Westbrook had on the ropes in the Western Conference Finals and that had just set the record for most wins in an NBA season ever, instead of re-signing with the Thunder. Westbrook didn’t answer any questions, post any Tweets, or conduct any interviews. He just posted a picture of cupcakes on Instagram.
During their first meeting of the regular season, Westbrook took a subtle jab at Durant’s photography hobby by showing up to the arena in this outfit:
On Christmas Day, while warming up for their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Westbrook hears about Kyrie Irving’s game-winner against the Warriors earlier in the day. He responds (debatably) with a giddy “Thank you Kyrie.”
During their second meeting of the season, Russ and KD delve into a heated shouting match during the middle of the game.
Only to connect on an alley-oop in the All-Star Game less than a week later.
2. 08/04 – Westbrook re-signs with the Thunder
Proving his loyalty to Oklahoma City and setting all of the season’s insanity in motion with one fell swoop, Westbrook re-upping with the Thunder is ultimately what gave us this revenge tour of a season in the first place.
1. 04/09 – The Nuggets Game
With the triple-double season average already clinched (more of a season-long event rather than just one moment, which is why it’s absent from this list), Westbrook turned in his finest hour on April 9th against the Denver Nuggets. He dropped a 50-16-10 triple-double, his record 42nd of the season and hit the game-winner to eliminate the Nuggets from playoff contention. Unbelievable.