Russell Westbrook’s patented hostility towards the media is a source of humor for many, but that is not the case for Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
Addressing reporters after his team defeated the LA Clippers on Sunday to take a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series, Kerr commented on the “next question” approach popularized by the Oklahoma City Thunder star.
“I think it’s dangerous for the league,” he said, according to Ethan Strauss of The Athletic.
“I just feel that we have to be very careful as a league,” Kerr went on. “We’re in a good place right now. Very popular. Fans love the game, the social dynamic, the fashion. But more than anything they love the connection they feel to the players. I think it’s important for the players to understand that it’s a key dynamic to this league. I don’t think this is a healthy dynamic, for this league, for any player, any team, any local media, any national media.”
The former MVP Westbrook is notoriously combative towards the press, and we’ve seen many examples of his “next question” M.O. just this season alone. However, much of that antagonism seems to be directed towards one person, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman, a local reporter whom Westbrook dislikes.
“It’s all part of the business,” continued Kerr. “You’ve got to feed information to the fans. You don’t have to give a great answer, but it’s dangerous when you go down that path of no communication because one of the reasons people like the league right now is we have a lot of great players, really good guys who handle themselves well. So don’t kill that. You’ve got to keep that going. That’s a big part of the business.”
The accessibility of star players is definitely one of the big advantages that the NBA has relative to other leagues. While Westbrook is usually responsive to non-Tramel media members, Kerr is right that the style could have adverse consequences if it spreads throughout the Association.