Russell Westbrook is a Los Angeles guy. He grew up in the area and played college ball at UCLA. So, going to the Los Angeles Lakers to team up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis this offseason was a homecoming for the 2016-17 NBA MVP.
But Westbrook also knows where most of the city stands in regards to the Lake Show and their little brother: the Clippers. In fact, he used just two words to throw shade on the underperforming franchise and prove that he had zero interest in going there.
Russell Westbrook played for the Wizards in 2020-21
The nine-time All-Star had a nice season in D.C., averaging a triple-double with 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, and an NBA-leading 11.7 assists. He also helped lead the franchise to its first playoff appearance since 2017-18.
“You’re looking at the season Russell had, it’s a travesty he wasn’t All-NBA as well,” Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said to NBC Sports. “Bradley [Beal] deserved it more than anybody but I thought Russell, he should’ve had his flowers. The guy averaged a triple-double. He helped take this team to the playoffs when we were sitting pretty much in a situation where, look, I thought the season was over midway through.”
Westbrook also used his lone season with the franchise to leave a significant mark on it, according to Sheppard.
“I can’t say it enough that the footprints he put in here, it was just like when Truth was here before that,” Sheppard said, per NBC Sports. “When Paul Pierce came through, his impact on this organization top to bottom was profound and I can’t thank Russell enough.”
As mentioned earlier, Westbrook moved on from the Wizards this offseason. But he apparently made it clear that he only wanted to go to one other team.
Russell Westbrook used 2 words to throw shade at the Clippers and prove his love for the Lakers
While talking to NBC Sports, Sheppard said he wanted to “make sure the record” was “straight” on how the deal that sent Russell Westbrook out of the nation’s capital came to be.
“Russell actually never asked to move on. He just said, ‘If I can get to the Lakers, that’d be something I would love to do. If not, I’ll be back here,’” Sheppard said, per NBC Sports.
When the GM asked him about the Clippers, though, he said Westbrook had a two-word response for him: “Hell no.”
The former Oklahoma City Thunder superstar got his wish and the Wizards sent him to the Lake Show — his favorite team growing up — in a five-team deal. But he also apparently made it clear he had zero interest in the Clippers, which just further proves the perception that they are the Lakers’ little brother.
The Clippers will never match up to the Lakers
Russell Westbrook’s desire to play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers over the Clippers, who also have a talented team with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, further proves that the Lakers are the main franchise in the city.
They have been in LA since 1960, although they got their start in Minneapolis, and have won an NBA-record 17 championships while also making the playoffs 62 times. The Clippers, on the other hand, moved to the city in 1984 after previously residing in San Diego and Buffalo. They have only made the playoffs 16 times and haven’t won a single championship.
The Lakers also rank third among the NBA’s most valuable teams in 2021, as they are worth $4.6 billion, per Forbes. The Clippers are No. 6 at $2.75 billion.
Whether they have superstars like Leonard and George or not, the Clippers will always be chasing the Lakers rather than the other way around. There has been some sort of a rivalry between the teams in recent years, but many people in LA, and even NBA fans outside of the city, know it’s just one-sided; the Lakers are the premier franchise in Los Angeles.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference