Russell Westbrook says he will not tolerate ‘Westbrick’ nickname
There are a number of ways fans cross the line when heckling players, and Russell Westbrook feels the new nickname people have been taunting him with does just that.
Skip Bayless recently began mocking Westbrook by calling him “Westbrick,” which is a play on words involving Westbrook’s last name and his poor shooting tendencies. Westbrook’s wife Nina said this week that the FS1 host’s taunting has led to harassment and death wishes for her family.
After Westbrook scored 17 points on just 5-of-14 shooting in Monday night’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs, he told reporters he stands behind his wife. The 33-year-old said he is not going to tolerate people disrespecting his name.
“When it comes to basketball, I don’t mind the criticism of missing and making shots,” Westbrook said, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “But the moment it becomes where my name is getting shamed, it becomes an issue.”
Westbrook said he decided to push back against the “Westbrick” taunts after his son’s teacher told him and his wife how proud their son is of his last name. Russell said calling him “Westbrick” is “shaming my name.”
“‘Westbrick,’ for example, to me, is now shaming,” Westbrook said. “It’s shaming my name, my legacy for my kids. It’s a name that means, not just to me, but to my wife, to my mom, my dad, the ones that kind of paved the way for me.”
During the third quarter of Monday’s game, Westbrook confronted a fan who called him “Westbrick.” He could be heard telling the fan, “don’t disrespect my name.”
Russell Westbrook was yelling at Spurs fans who yelled “West-brick,” among other things, during San Antonio’s WIN over Los Angeles
The ref had to come get Russ.
— NBA Buzz (@OfficialNBABuzz) March 8, 2022
Westbrook said the harassment has gotten to the point where his family has to avoid attending games. He vowed to “put a stop to that and put it on notice.”
There is no excuse for fans harassing a player’s family, but Westbrook is only going to make things worse for himself. The worst thing a player can do is engage fans who are heckling. It is understandable for players to get upset if something vulgar is said, but there is nothing vulgar about shouting “Westbrick!” Lakers fans are unhappy that a $40 million player has not produced. Opposing fans are just trying to get in Westbrook’s head, and it has clearly worked.
Photo: Oct 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook prior to the preseason game against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports