Russell Westbrook was one of the most heavily criticized players during the NBA playoffs last season. If you had only seen the commentary on TV and Twitter, you would have thought he was some scrub off the bench who couldn’t play.
Kobe Bryant heard all the criticism and stood up for Russ after his Lakers lost to Westbrook’s Thunder Thursday.
“I don’t know what the media is doing out here, but everybody just needs to lay off of Russell,” Kobe said, according to The Oklahoman. “That’s a bad little dude, man. That’s a bad little dude, man. You guys are fortunate to have him. You guys have got two explosive scorers here. I like how he’s playing. He just has to continue to improve and do his thing.”
Though we got on Westbrook for showing poor sportsmanship after the playoff loss to the Mavericks last year, we felt he was singled out by the media and the criticism went too far. Times when he should have deferred to Kevin Durant but kept the ball instead led people to go overboard, and they lost sight of how good of a player he is. Luckily Kobe sees it and knows it. When it comes to crunch time, sometimes the studs have to be selfish with the ball.
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