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#pounditThursday, June 24, 2021

Oscar Robertson defends Russell Westbrook against criticisms

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook is widely seen as a spiritual successor of sorts to Oscar Robertson. Now Robertson is standing up for his junior counterpart.

The retired Basketball Hall of Famer spoke this week with Marc Stein of The New York Times. In the interview, Robertson said that he hopes Westbrook breaks his career triple-doubles record of 181. Westbrook is inching closer with 180 triple-doubles and looks likely to surpass Robertson this season.

Robertson also defended Westbrook against the criticism that he has not won an NBA championship.

“I think he’s one of the elite guards in basketball, and I think it’s ridiculous some sportswriters criticize him because he has not won a championship,” said Robertson. “Players don’t win championships by themselves. You’ve got to have good management. You need to get with the right group of players.”

Despite consistently being celebrated by his actual teammates for his leadership qualities, Westbrook does indeed draw unfair criticism often times. The popular one is that he is supposedly a stat-padder who does not facilitate winning basketball, as evidenced by his lack of playoff success.

But even Robertson failed to win a title until he joined forces with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1970, even if the NBA only had about half as many teams back then. Robertson has also been rooting for Westbrook for many years now, as they clearly have a very strong bond.

Photo: All-Pro Reels/Flickr via cc by-sa 2.0

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