Russell Westbrook has yet to don the Purple and Gold of his hometown Los Angeles Lakers. But The Brodie’s anticipation for his Lakers debut is absolutely nothing compared to the anxiety he felt in preparing for the Met Gala.
Westbrook plays with a certain reckless abandon when he’s on the court. It’s a stark contrast to his approach to one of the biggest fashion shows in the country. The NBA’s most audacious style icon explained why he feels nervy ahead of every Met Gala during a recent interview with GQ.
Russell Westbrook was one of the many athletes in attendance for Monday’s Met Gala
All the stars were out in Manhattan for Monday night’s Met Gala, including some of the greatest athletes in the world.
Tennis stars Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka both walked the red carpet. Renowned American gymnast and Olympic star Simone Biles joined them. Formula 1 sensation Lewis Hamilton stepped out just days after a scary crash at the Italian Grand Prix. Singer and songwriter Ciara represented her husband, Russell Wilson, wearing an outfit that looked like Wilson’s No. 3 Seattle Seahawks jersey.
The NBA was well-represented. Golden State Warriors superstar and reigning scoring champion Stephen Curry attended with his wife, Ayesha. Of course, no fashion show would be complete without Westbrook, who came with some of his traditional flair.
Westbrook decided to dye his hair blue to match his suit, also sporting stars on his head. It was the kind of bold fashion statement NBA fans have become accustomed to regarding some of the former MVP’s pregame fits.
Unbeknownst to basketball heads, however, is that Westbrook was incredibly nervous during the buildup to the event.
Westbrook explained why the nerves for his Lakers debut simply can’t measure against the preparation for the Met Gala
Russell Westbrook won’t feel anything especially out of the ordinary when his Lakers debut arrives next month. After all, he has a pretty set pregame routine.
Westbrook told GQ that his process ahead of games is “very easy,” saying he spends time at his locker to reflect and could care less about the presence of the cameras. But he described prepping for the Met Gala as a “detail-oriented” process that demands quite a bit of thought. For example, the red carpet walk is vastly different from his run out of the tunnel.
“It’s more of a nice stroll,” Westbrook said, via GQ, “You gotta have your stance together—how you want to stand, how you want to look, how you want your clothes to lay. During the season, you walk in [and it’s] game on, not really paying much mind. But on the red carpet, you’re real conscious of how you’re standing, how you’re looking, how your clothes are looking on you.”
Additionally, the Lakers guard feels the heat of more cameras. Westbrook said there are about “a hundred” cameras trained on the celebrities and athletes at the Met Gala, far exceeding the media presence at an NBA game.
The former UCLA star will face a good deal of pressure playing for his hometown Lakers. Still, that pressure doesn’t appear to resonate with him like the apprehension of attending the Met Gala.
Can Russell Westbrook help the Lakers reclaim their status as NBA champions?
The Lakers will likely be hoping Russell Westbrook is the playmaker they need to get back to the mountaintop.
General manager Rob Pelinka showed a willingness to take on Westbrook’s massive salary to give LA one of the most explosive playmakers in basketball. How he fits alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis is a mystery, but the Lakers likely feel the individual dynamism will yield winning results.
Regardless, Westbrook probably won’t be fazed by making his first walk out of the tunnel as a member of the Lakers. He’s been prepared for the moment by, of all things, the Met Gala.