Russell Westbrook Launches 'Why Not? Academy' for Middle, High Schoolers in LA

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2021

Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) reacts after he scored and was fouled during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook is partnering with the LA Promise Fund to start a school in his hometown.

In a video, Westbrook announced the launch of the "Russell Westbrook Why Not? Academy," which will provide educational services to students from grades six through 12.

"My plan is making sure you guys and the future kids coming in have access to all the resources you need to be successful," he said.

Westbrook will become the second active NBA player to launch a school for underserved children. LeBron James opened the I Promise school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio in July 2018. 

"We aim to ensure that students from South Los Angeles have access to a college and career education that is community-based, fights institutionalized racism, and uplifts and empowers individuals and the communities they live in," LA Promise Fund said in a statement on Twitter. 

The Why Not? Foundation was started by Westbrook in 2012 when he was playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The organization's mission statement is to help provide services to at-risk populations, including education and workforce tools. It also works to ensure those groups have proper access to mental health resources. 

Westbrook was born in Long Beach, California and grew up playing basketball in the area. He attended college at UCLA before going to the NBA in 2008. He's been named to the All-Star team nine times and was voted NBA MVP for the 2016-17 season.