Russell Westbrook ventured through nearly his entire career wearing No. 0, where he’s established himself as one of the NBA’s best players. Westbrook is returning to his previous number in his first campaign with the Los Angeles Lakers after spending one season wearing No. 4 with the Washington Wizards. The star point guard has held a unique reason for wearing No. 0.
Russell Westbrook’s NBA career
Since entering the NBA, Westbrook has developed into one of the league’s best talents.
He’s become an all-around game-changing talent behind his scoring, passing, and defensive prowess. He’s earned nine All-Star selections and a regular-season MVP award, received nine All-NBA Team selections, and led the league in scoring twice and assists three times.
Westbrook has become a triple-double machine as he’s averaged that feat four times in the last five seasons while setting the NBA record with 184 career triple-doubles. He also holds the single-season mark with 42 triple-doubles in his MVP-winning campaign.
He’s accomplished much of that while wearing No. 0, in which he revealed the reasoning behind the number selection.
Why does Russell Westbrook wear No. 0?
In all but one of his first 13 NBA seasons, Westbrook donned the No. 0 jersey.
After choosing to wear No. 4 with the Wizards in the 2020-21 campaign, the former league MVP revealed why he decided to play with No. 0 at UCLA, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Houston Rockets.
“I decided to wear the number zero when I entered college because it represented a new beginning, a fresh start,” Westbrook said via Sporting News. “The same when I entered the NBA.”
His reasoning is cemented behind his internal motivation to prove himself at each level. Since being selected as the fourth overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Westbrook more than accomplished that feat. He’s one of the league’s top talent driven by his personal drive to prove he belongs in the league.
Westbrook has chosen to return to the number in his first year, where he holds a special opportunity ahead to vie for his first NBA title.
Bright future lies ahead with the Lakers
The Lakers‘ busy offseason featured the front office acquiring Westbrook to pair alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The star point guard fits the bill of what Los Angeles wanted with his ability to heavily impact the game through scoring and passing. The 32-year-old will have the chance to become a crucial piece to the Lakers’ push toward securing his first NBA title.
“LeBron out of anybody else, he knows what it takes to win a championship,” Westbrook told ESPN. “My understanding of the commitment, understanding the sacrifices that we are both going to have to make, including myself and [Anthony Davis] as well for the betterment on the team, and finding ways to be able to win a championship. And that’s the ultimate goal. So anything along the way … we cannot get distracted, cannot get deterred from our ultimate goal.”
Westbrook must find a balanced role alongside James, who is another ball-dominant player. Meanwhile, allow his play to add an element the Lakers missed last season. He will experience a challenging transition phase as he finds the playing style that best pushes the team toward competing for an NBA title.
The doubt remains fueled through his outside shooting inconsistency, holding a 30.5% career mark from 3-point range. His fit alongside James and Davis may ultimately determine whether the Lakers can make a serious run toward the 2022 NBA title.
Beyond that, it’s a potential legacy-defining moment for Westbrook in Los Angeles that can silence the critics.