Russell Westbrook, Wife Nina Respond to Stephen A. Smith's Champion Comments

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIMarch 31, 2021

Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) dribbles the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Saturday, March 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Russell Westbrook and his wife, Nina, fired back at criticism from ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith via social media on Tuesday. 

That morning on ESPN's First Take, Smith said he didn't care that Westbrook broke the Washington Wizards' franchise record for triple-doubles after he recorded his 16th on Monday. Smith took issue with the Wizards' then-17-28 record and the fact that "this isn't the first time Russell Westbrook has played on a team that has fallen short" (h/t Kevin Brown of NBC Sports Washington). 

Westbrook disagreed with his assessment.

"I was a champion once I made it to the NBA," he said in a lengthy response, per The Athletic's Fred Katz. "I grew up in the streets. I'm a champion."

Fred Katz @FredKatz

Russell Westbrook gave a 2-and-a-half minute answer in response to a question about @stephenasmith’s comments on First Take: “A championship don't change my life. I'm happy. I was a champion once I made it to the NBA. I grew up in the streets. I'm a champion.” Full quote here: https://t.co/wcceIzqQlg

Nina Westbrook offered her thoughts on Smith's comments via Instagram: "I don't know how many times I have to be minding my own business and randomly be subjected to you slandering my husband (who also happens to be minding his own business, being happy and living his best life)."

Master @MasterTes

I love everything about the Westbrooks https://t.co/fRlOKc6RVq

Russell Westbrook posted an Instagram story of his own, highlighting his support for his wife's posts (h/t Brown). 

The No. 4 pick by the Seattle SuperSonics (who became the Oklahoma City Thunder in his rookie campaign) in 2008 has never won an NBA championship, but he's had plenty of individual success throughout his 13 seasons. A nine-time All-Star and nine-time All-NBA selection, Westbrook has been the league's scoring champion and assists champion twice.

He was named the league's MVP in 2016-17 after he became the first player to average a triple-double for an entire season since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62. 

He also has plenty of postseason experience, having reached the Finals with the Thunder in 2012.

He likely won't get to the playoffs with Washington this season, as the Wizards hold the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference, but Westbrook is certainly among the modern NBA greats.