On June 26, 2017, Westbrook was named the recipient of the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. He was the first winner from a team with fewer than 50 wins since Moses Malone in 1982.
On December 2, 2020, amidst rumors that he and Harden were unhappy and wanted out from the Rockets, Westbrook was traded to the Washington Wizards for John Wall and a 2023 lottery-protected first-round draft pick. He was not named to the 2021 All-Star Game, missing the game for the first time since 2014. On March 30, 2021, Westbrook became the first player since Magic Johnson in 1988 to record a 30–10–20 triple double with 35 points, a then season-high 21 assists, and 14 rebounds in a 132–124 win over the Indiana Pacers. His 16th triple double in his 38th game with the Wizards, Westbrook broke Darrell Walker's franchise record for career triple-doubles, which had stood for 30 years.
Russell Westbrook III (born November 12, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). A point guard, Westbrook made his NBA debut in 2008 and became a star as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has played for five NBA teams.
Following the off-season departure of Durant, trade speculation began swirling around Westbrook, whose contract was set to expire in 2017. The Thunder were determined to keep Westbrook and held off all trade talks in order to work out an extension. On August 4, 2016, Westbrook signed a three-year, $85.7 million contract extension with the Thunder. He became the focal point of the team. On December 9, Westbrook recorded his seventh straight triple-double with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 102–99 loss to the Houston Rockets. This streak was the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight triple-doubles in 1989.
Russell Westbrook III was born in Long Beach, California, to Russell Westbrook Jr. and Shannon Horton. He has a younger brother named Raynard. Growing up in Hawthorne, Westbrook and his best friend Khelcey Barrs III had hopes of going to UCLA and playing together. At age 16, Barrs was already known to have excellent basketball skills and received college scholarship offers. In May 2004, Barrs died from an enlarged heart during a pick-up game. After Barrs' death, Westbrook seemed even more determined to excel in honor of his best friend's memory. Westbrook never fails to wear a "KB3" wristband in loving memory of his best friend.
Westbrook wore number 0 throughout his career at the University of California, Los Angeles. As a freshman in 2006–07, he played as a backup to Darren Collison and was primarily used as a defender and energy player off the bench. Westbrook averaged 3.4 points, 0.8 rebounds, and 0.7 assists on the year. During the off-season, he trained extensively, both in the weight room and in the gym, where he faced NBA veterans who visited Los Angeles. The next season, Collison was injured and Westbrook was named the starter. He finished the season averaging 12.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.6 steals. At the end of the year, he was named All-Pac-10 Third Team and won the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year.
During his senior year, Westbrook averaged 25.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.1 steals, and 2.3 assists and helped lead them to a 25–4 record. That same season, he recorded 14 double-doubles, scored 30 or more points on eight separate occasions, and registered a career-best 51 points at Carson on January 6, 2006. Westbrook initially did not attract much attention from top college basketball programs. After his height increased, contributing to him averaging more than 25 points per game and becoming a solid college basketball prospect, coach Ben Howland recruited him to play for the UCLA Bruins. Westbrook declined other offers while waiting for the Bruins' Jordan Farmar to leave early for the NBA and free up a scholarship.
UCLA advanced to the Final Four during each of Westbrook's seasons with the team. In 2007, they lost to eventual national champion Florida, 76–66 and in 2008, they lost 78–63 to Memphis. After two years at UCLA, Westbrook decided to forgo his final two years and enter the 2008 NBA draft. He stayed in school and finished the quarter, a rarity for high draft picks declaring early for the draft.
Westbrook was selected fourth overall in the 2008 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, which then relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder six days later. He signed with the team on July 5, 2008. On March 2, 2009, Westbrook recorded his first career triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He was the first rookie since Chris Paul and the third rookie in Sonics/Thunder franchise history (Art Harris and Gary Payton) to record a triple-double.
After tying a career-high 45 points on February 4, 2015 in a 102–91 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, Westbrook broke that mark to score a new career-high of 48 points two days later, this time in a 116–113 loss to the Pelicans. After being injured the previous year, Westbrook returned to the All-Star game in 2015. He tallied 41 points and was named the All-Star MVP. On February 27, in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, Westbrook recorded 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists to become the first player to have three straight triple-doubles since LeBron James did so in 2009.
In 2010, he was selected to the FIBA World Championship team in Istanbul, Turkey. On a team without a single member from its 2008 Olympic gold-medal team, Westbrook was considered a star on the team. The 2010 team relied heavily on a small lineup, and Westbrook finished in the top five on the team in minutes per game, and top three in points and assists per game. Team USA went 9–0 to win its first World Championship since 1994. The win automatically qualified Team USA for the 2012 Olympics in London, and they overtook Argentina for the No. 1 world ranking.
On November 26, 2010, Westbrook scored a then-career-high 43 points against the Indiana Pacers. Westbrook was selected by NBA head coaches to be a Western Conference reserve for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game. This was his first all-star appearance. Westbrook finished the season with averages of 21.9 points, 8.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.9 steals. He was named to the All-NBA Second Team for the first time. The Thunder finished the season at 55–27 and lost to the eventual world champion Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. Westbrook averaged 23.8 points, 6.4 assists, and 5.4 rebounds in the playoffs.
Westbrook played college basketball for the UCLA Bruins and earned third-team all-conference honors in the Pac-10. He was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, who then relocated to Oklahoma City that same week. Westbrook played for the Thunder for 11 seasons. He appeared in the NBA Finals as a member of the Thunder in 2012, losing to the Miami Heat. In 2019, Westbrook was traded to the Houston Rockets, playing one season for the organization before being traded again to the Washington Wizards in 2020. After a season in Washington, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2021. Following two relatively disappointing seasons with the Lakers, Westbrook was traded to the Utah Jazz in 2023 and was bought out of his contract, joining the Los Angeles Clippers later in the 2022–2023 season.
Westbrook wears a "KB3" wristband and has "KB3" on his sneakers in honor of his childhood friend Khelcey Barrs III. In 2012, he started the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation, which promotes community-based education and family service programs while pushing youngsters to be self-confident.
In the 2011–12 season, Westbrook was again selected by the coaches to participate in the 2012 NBA All-Star Game. On March 23, 2012, he scored a career-high 45 points in a 149–140 double overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He averaged 23.6 points, 5.5 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals for the lockout-shortened season and was voted to the All-NBA Second Team for the second year in a row.
In October 2012, Westbrook signed with the Jordan Brand. His first commercial was with the Jordan Brand and Champs in which a high school athlete purchased Jordan gear from Champs and transformed into Westbrook and won a state championship. In 2017, Westbrook signed a 10-year extension with Jordan Brand that gave him the largest total endorsement deal of any athlete sponsored by the brand.
Standing at 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) tall and weighing 200 pounds (91 kg), Westbrook is a point guard who is widely known for playing at a high level of intensity and for being able to keep that intensity for the majority of his playing time. Westbrook will often look to push the pace of the game for transition points and attack the basket. Though attacking the rim is his forte, he will frequently pull up for medium-range jump shots. He regularly creates good scoring opportunities for his teammates, resulting in him averaging over eight assists per game for his career. Despite his intense style of play, and despite having torn his right meniscus in 2013, Westbrook remains one of the NBA's most durable players. While playing for Oklahoma City, he played in 439 consecutive games; this was the longest consecutive games streak in the league at the time.
Westbrook was once again selected for the NBA All-Star Game. He finished the 2012–13 season averaging 23.2 points, 7.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game. Westbrook helped lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to the playoffs and the first seed in the Western Conference. They would go on to face the 8th seed Houston Rockets in the first round. On April 25, 2013, in the second game of the series, Westbrook injured his right knee when Rockets guard Patrick Beverley collided with him in an attempt to steal the ball. Although Westbrook was clearly bothered by the injury, he would continue playing and finished the game with 29 points. It was revealed the next day that he had suffered a slight tear in his right meniscus. He had surgery on April 27, 2013, and was declared out for the rest of the playoffs. Without Westbrook, the Thunder defeated the Rockets in six games, but fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in five games in the next round. Westbrook was named to the All-NBA Second Team for the third consecutive year.
In November 2013, Westbrook signed with Kings and Jaxs Boxer Briefs. He stated: "I have always loved fashion so working with Kings & Jaxs was a natural fit as we both have a fearless and creative approach to style." He signed with PepsiCo to become the global face of Mountain Dew Kickstart.
A member of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team, Westbrook is a nine-time NBA All-Star and earned the NBA Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) for the 2016–17 season. He is also a nine-time All-NBA Team member; a two-time NBA scoring leader, having led the league in 2014–15 and 2016–17; a three-time NBA assists leader; and a back-to-back NBA All-Star Game MVP. Westbrook is one of two players in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season. He has achieved that feat four times and is the all-time NBA leader in career triple-doubles. Westbrook is known for his ability to score near the basket, his rebounding, his durability, and his intensity as a competitor.
Prior to the start of the 2013–14 season, Westbrook had a second surgery on his right knee, which set back his return to basketball. Despite reports that he would miss the first two weeks of the regular season, Westbrook only missed the first two games before returning to action. On December 26, however, it was announced that Westbrook would undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and would be out until after the All-Star break. The Thunder were able to remain competitive despite his absence due mainly to Kevin Durant's stellar play. Westbrook returned to the lineup on February 20, 2014. He played the rest of the season on limited minutes and sat out the second night of back-to-backs.
Westbrook and the Thunder finished with a 59–23 record, earning the second seed in the Western Conference. They advanced to the Western Conference Finals, where they faced the San Antonio Spurs. On May 27, 2014, in a Game 4 victory, Westbrook recorded 40 points, 5 rebounds, 10 assists and 5 steals. The Thunder lost the series to the eventual NBA champion Spurs in six games. Westbrook averaged 26.7 points, 8.1 assists, and 7.3 rebounds in the postseason.
In 2015, Westbrook was named Marketing Creative Director of the denim brand True Religion. In 2016, he launched the unisex streetwear brand Honor the Gift, which pays tribute to his years growing up in Hawthorne and Los Angeles.
On October 30, 2015, to begin the 2015–16 season, Westbrook and Durant each scored 40 points against the Orlando Magic. On January 4, Westbrook was named Western Conference co-Player of the Month for December alongside Durant.
Westbrook was voted to start in his first All-Star Game in 2016, and he earned his second All-Star Game MVP award in a 196–173 win by the West. He recorded 31 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and five steals in 22 minutes, and became the first player in All-Star history to win consecutive MVPs outright. On March 22, he recorded his 15th triple-double of the season and 34th of his career with 21 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds in a 111–107 win over the Houston Rockets, amassing the most triple-doubles by a player in a season since 1988–89, when Magic Johnson had 17 and Michael Jordan had 15.
On January 4, 2022, in a 122–114 win over the Sacramento Kings, Westbrook had his first game without turnovers since March 14, 2016. In January 19, he was benched by Lakers head coach Frank Vogel in the final four minutes of a home loss against the Indiana Pacers.
On September 29, 2017, Westbrook signed a five-year, $205 million contract extension with the Thunder. The deal started with the 2018–19 season and delivered Westbrook the largest guaranteed contract in NBA history at the time—six seasons and $233 million through 2022–23. The contract included a player option for the 2022–23 season. Continuing on from his historic 2016–17 season, Westbrook had a triple-double in the Thunder's season opener against the New York Knicks on October 19. Playing alongside new All-Star teammates Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, Westbrook had 21 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists in a 105–84 win. After starting the season with an 8–12 record, the Thunder improved to 20–15 with a 124–107 win over the Toronto Raptors on December 27. Westbrook had 30 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds against the Raptors as the Thunder won their sixth straight game.
On March 13, 2018, Westbrook recorded 32 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds in a 119–107 win over the Atlanta Hawks, becoming the fourth player in NBA history to record 100 triple-doubles, joining Oscar Robertson (181 triple-doubles), Magic Johnson (138) and Jason Kidd (107). On April 9, Westbrook recorded his 25th triple-double of the season with 23 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists in a 115–93 win over the Miami Heat, helping the Thunder clinch a playoff spot. Westbrook finished the season as the league leader in assists per game, averaging 10.3 per game, and he was named to the All-NBA Second Team. In Game 5 of the Thunder's first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, Westbrook scored 33 of his 45 points in the second half as Oklahoma City rallied from 25 points down to fight off elimination and beat the Jazz 107–99. He also had 15 rebounds and seven assists. In Game 6, Westbrook scored 46 points in a 96–91 loss, as the Thunder bowed out of the playoffs with a 4–2 defeat.
Westbrook missed the preseason and the first two regular season games of the 2018–2019 season after undergoing a procedure in September 2018 to deal with inflammation in his right knee. In his season debut for the Thunder on October 21, Westbrook had 32 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in 35 minutes in a 131–120 loss to the Sacramento Kings. On November 19, he returned to the line-up after missing five games with a left ankle sprain and had 29 points and 13 assists in a 117–113 loss to the Kings. On January 10, 2019, he recorded a career-high 24 assists to go with 24 points and 13 rebounds in a 154–147 double-overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
On July 16, 2019, Westbrook was traded to the Houston Rockets for All-Star Chris Paul, two protected first-round picks, and two first-round pick swaps. The move reunited Westbrook with former Thunder teammate James Harden; the two players both expressed mutual interest and enthusiasm in playing together at this stage in their careers. Harden spent his first three seasons in the league (2009–2012) on the Thunder with Westbrook. They had played together in the 2012 NBA Finals.
Westbrook made his Rockets debut in a 117–111 loss against the Milwaukee Bucks on October 24, 2019, leading the team with 24 points, 16 rebounds, and seven assists in 33 minutes of play. In Westbrook's second game as a Rocket on October 26, 2019, he became second all time in career triple-doubles, passing Magic Johnson with a 28-point, 13-assist, and 10-rebound performance in a 126–123 win against the New Orleans Pelicans.
On January 9, 2020, Westbrook made his return to Oklahoma City for the first time as a visitor, scoring 34 points, grabbing 2 rebounds, and passing for 5 assists on 14-of-26 shooting from the field in a 113–92 loss. With his triple-double against Oklahoma City on January 20, he joined LeBron James as the only two players to have logged triple-doubles against all 30 NBA teams.
Westbrook made his production debut with Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre about the Tulsa race massacre, which was inspired by his time playing in Oklahoma City. It received three Primetime Emmy nominations in 2021. He produced the short film Why Not? in a collaboration with Jordan Brand. He also produced his autobiographical documentary, Passion Play: Russell Westbrook, which debuted on Showtime in 2021.
On August 6, 2021, Westbrook was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and the draft rights to Isaiah Jackson. This was the third time Westbrook was traded, and the Lakers became his fourth team in three years. On October 19, Westbrook made his Lakers debut, putting up eight points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field, five rebounds, and three assists in a 121–114 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
On April 5, 2022, the Lakers were defeated, 121–110, by the Phoenix Suns. This defeat eliminated the team from obtaining a playoff berth. The 2021–2022 season was the third season in Westbrook's career (and the first since 2015) in which he missed the playoffs. Vogel was fired after the season. Following Vogel's firing, Westbrook said, "I'm not sure what his issue was with me." The coach had kept him in the starting lineup all season despite pressure to bring him off the bench. Westbrook attended new head coach Darvin Ham's introductory press conference, where the coach said "Russell Westbrook is one of the best players our league has ever seen, and there's still a ton left in the tank." He said a common theme of their meetings was "sacrifice". Westbrook opted in to the final year of his contract for 2022–23, valued at $47 million.
After severing ties with agent Thad Foucher of Wasserman in July 2022, Westbrook signed Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports as his agent on August 1, 2022. During the off-season, the Lakers acquired point guards Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schröder. On October 28, Westbrook came off the bench for the first time since his rookie season and chipped in with 18 points and eight rebounds in a 111–102 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. On November 2, 2022, CBS Sports reported that Westbrook had described his new role coming off the bench as "'beneficial for everybody'". On November 12, the Lakers' record was 2–10 and they stood in last place in the Western Conference. Claire de Lune of The Guardian provided the following November 16 analysis of Westbrook's fit with the Lakers:
On January 15, 2023, Westbrook put up 20 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists off the bench in a 113–112 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. It was his fourth career triple-double off the bench, which set a record for the most triple-doubles off the bench in NBA history. On January 20, Westbrook had 29 points, five rebounds, and six assists, as the Lakers rallied a 122–121 win to snap the Memphis Grizzlies' winning streak at 11 games. On January 30, Westbrook made his 8,967th career assist in a 121–104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, surpassing Gary Payton for tenth place in the all-time career assists list.
On February 9, 2023, Westbrook was traded to the Utah Jazz in a three-team trade involving the Minnesota Timberwolves. At the time of the trade, he was averaging 15.9 points, 7.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds with the Lakers on 41.7% shooting in a career-low 28.7 minutes per game.
On February 22, 2023, Westbrook signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, reuniting with his former Thunder teammate Paul George. Westbrook became a starter with the Clippers. On February 24, Westbrook made his Clippers debut, putting up 17 points and 14 assists in a 176–175 double overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings. According to Bleacher Report, Westbrook "looked rejuvenated" after joining the Clippers.
On March 5, Westbrook won his first game as a member of the Clippers with a 135–129 come-from-behind victory against the Memphis Grizzlies. On March 11, Westbrook made his 9,062nd career assist in a 106–95 win over the New York Knicks, surpassing Isiah Thomas for ninth place in the all-time career assists list. During the regular season, Westbrook averaged 15.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 7.6 assists while shooting 48.9 percent from the field for the Clippers. In July 2023, Coach Tyronn Lue praised Westbrook's effort and toughness, saying that Westbrook had "saved" the Clippers during the final 20 games of the regular season following injuries to Paul George and others.
On July 6, 2023, the Clippers re-signed Westbrook to a two-year, $7.8 million contract. After the Clippers' blockbuster trade for James Harden, Westbrook requested to come off the bench, mainly to save a six game losing streak the Clippers were experiencing at the time. On January 1, 2024, Westbrook passed Patrick Ewing for 25th place on the league's all-time scoring list. On February 2, Westbrook scored 23 points and delivered nine assists to become the 25th player in NBA history with 25,000 career points in a 136–125 win over the Detroit Pistons. He and James Harden became the third pair of 25,000-point scorers to play together in NBA history. They joined LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony for the 2021–22 Lakers and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for the 2013–14 Nets.
Westbrook's three-point shooting and turnovers are often mentioned when pundits criticize his play. As of September 2023, he has averaged 30.5% on three-point field goal attempts and 4.1 turnovers per game during his career. His free-throw percentage has declined in the latter years of his career. Westbrook has also been criticized for his "single-mindedness" and for being uncooperative. Contrarily, teammates and former teammates such as Paul George, Austin Reaves, and Bradley Beal have praised him for his leadership and strong work ethic.