The underrated best part of the Russell Westbrook press conference shenanigans yesterday was longtime Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel standing his ground, calmly and matter-of-factly insisting that his question to Steven Adams about the Thunder’s splits with and without Westbrook in the game was valid and worthy of an answer. (He was right.)
In interviews with Dan Patrick (above) and Colin Cowherd (below) today — both are worth a listen if you’ve got 20 minutes total to spare — Tramel made the following observations:
- “Westbrook plays and lives through intimidation. He likes to intimidate circumstances and situations and people. And he generally gets by with it because he’s a great player and he can be charming.”
- While people have opined that Westbrook would have trouble recruiting players because he dominates the ball. Tramel doesn’t necessarily agree with that notion because you get to play at a fast pace Westbrook doles out a bunch of assists, but says that practicing and generally being around him in the locker room or at dinner would be grating. Also, he acknowledges that OKC is not as a city a “magnet” for superstars. “It’s just not. We wish it was, but it’s not.”
- Westbrook relishes controlling the organization, down to the music in the locker room to who sings the national Anthem. This is an asset for Oklahoma City to keep him for the long term because a lot of other organizations wouldn’t put up with it.
- “He likes to commandeer situations. One of the reasons I was so persistent is you don’t want him commandeering press conferences. He already controls so much about the media, I didn’t want anybody to think he could do this on a regular basis. But, it’s not terribly surprising.”
- OKC fans will look on this season fondly. After Durant left, they were despondent. Westbrook’s signing an extension and having the season that he did will be special to them, even if the team loses to the Rockets in short order.