Whether you like it or not, top tier NBA players make millions of dollars each season in salary. When it comes to guards, few men are better than Russell Westbrook; during his time in Oklahoma City and Houston, he’s proven himself to be an elite scorer capable of doing it all every time he hits the hardwood. That skillset, unsurprisingly, has helped him build quite a fortune.
The Houston Rockets guard, however, isn’t about to spend all of his cash on himself. Before leaving the NBA bubble in Orlando, Russell Westbrook reportedly used $8,000 to “do the right thing.”
Russell Westbrook’s rise to NBA stardom
When you imagine a point guard, it’s easy to think of someone like John Stockton, who dishes out dozens of assists per game while facilitating the team’s offense. Russell Westbrook, however, plays by his own rules.
Growing up, though, Westbrook didn’t seem like much of an athlete at all. In high school, the guard played with plenty of heart, but was small and slow; his talent, or lack thereof, was overshadowed by his friend, Khelcey Barrs.
While Barrs never got the chance to strut his stuff at the professional level—he tragically died as a teenager during a pickup game—that loss inspired Westbrook to make sure he wouldn’t miss his chance at greatness. He started taking everything, from basketball to chores, more seriously; eventually, he earned a scholarship and headed to UCLA.
After a tough freshman season, Westbrook burst onto the scene as a sophomore; he then entered into the 2008 NBA draft and joined the then-Seattle SuperSonics as the fourth-overall pick. In Oklahoma City and, more recently, Houston, he’s proven to be a legitimate talent capable of averaging a triple-double over an entire season and stuffing the stat sheet on any given night.
Making more than $200 million in the NBA
While Russell Westbrook is yet to win an NBA title, he’s still received a nice consolation prize. During his 12 seasons in the pros, the guard has earned more than $200 million in salary.
According to Spotrac’s financial data, Westbrook’s earnings work out to $205,415,040 as of the end of the 2019-20 campaign. That number, however, will keep growing by leaps and bounds. Before leaving Oklahoma City, the guard inked a five-year, $206 million deal; by the time that contract runs its course, he’ll have taken more than $338 in raw salary.
Unsurprisingly, that earning power has helped Westbrook build up quite a fortune; his net worth clocks in at an estimated $150 million.
Russell Westbrook left an $8,000 tip before leaving the NBA bubble
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA decided to finish the 2019-20 season inside a bubble located at Walt Disney World. While the trip wasn’t exactly a vacation, it did mean that players and staff stayed on campus and lived in the resort’s hotels.
When it was time to head home, however, Russell Westbrook didn’t forget that he was in a hotel. According to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News, the guard left an $8,000 tip for the housekeeping staff; he also left his room in “spotless” condition.
Taylor Rooks of Turner Sports reached out to Westbrook and confirmed that he did leave a hefty tip behind. While the guard didn’t disclose the actual dollar amount, he did have high praise for the housekeepers. “They took great care of us,” he told Rooks. “Took the time and energy to do their job at a high level. That was the right thing. I like to do the right thing.”
From a cynical perspective, it’s easy to poke holes in the story. With millions in the bank, some will say, Westbrook should have left more than $8,000. Others will (accurately) point out that the hotel employees risked their own health so that the NBA playoffs could take place; a generous tip from one of the players doesn’t really address that power imbalance.
With all of that being said, though, Russell Westbrook did live up to his own word; before leaving Orlando, he reached into his wallet and did the right thing.