Lakers' LeBron James Defends Russell Westbrook from Critics in Instagram Post

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, shoots as Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook, center, and forward Rui Hachimura defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

LeBron James wants people to put some respect on Russell Westbrook's name.

The Los Angeles Lakers star posted a photo of himself and Westbrook taken after the Wizards' 116-107 win over the Lakers on Wednesday, drawing a through-line between his and Westbrook's haters.

"We know y'all HATE & don't APPRECIATE but we just laugh it off! But 1 thing you will do is RESPECT IT/US," James wrote

Westbrook posted 18 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists in the win over the LeBron-less Lakers, his 30th triple-double of the 2020-21 season. He is on pace to record his fourth season averaging a triple-double; no other player in league history has more than one such campaign.

Despite rewriting the NBA record book of all-around performance, Westbrook has drawn criticism from some who see him as a stat-stuffer rather than a player who leads championship-caliber teams. Westbrook responded to the criticism Monday, saying he feels his contributions are taken for granted.

"I honestly believe there is no player like myself, and if people want to take it for granted, sorry for them," Westbrook told reporters

"I'm pretty sure if everybody could do it, they would do it. I honestly make sure I impact the game in many ways every night; defending, rebounding, passing, whatever it is my team needs from me to win. That's what I do. I really don't, honestly, I don't care what people think about it."

While some fans on NBA Twitter may scream about Westbrook being "overrated," it's clear he has the respect of the most prominent peer in the league.