Russell Westbrook’s top 11 postgame interview moments
Like Marshawn Lynch, Kevin Garnett and Coach Pop, the OKC star has always been a news conference MVP
This post contains explicit language.
Russell Westbrook ain’t new to this — he’s true to this. He’s long been as entertaining in postgame interviews as he is on the court. So his rant after Game 4 of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s playoff series against the Houston Rockets was no surprise: “I don’t want nobody to try to split us up,” he said this time. “We all one team.” In fact, Westbrook was pretty tame. Westbrook didn’t drop an F-bomb or the N-word, like he’s done before. He didn’t calmly reveal his dislike for a particular reporter, like he’s done before.
Over the years, Westbrook’s interviews have become one of the greatest spectacles to behold in the NBA. His delivery and pettiness levels are up there in the ranks with fellow interview trolls Marshawn Lynch, Kevin Garnett and Gregg Popovich. Like them, Westbrook isn’t afraid to speak his mind. For these reasons, we stick around after games. Here are the top 11 moments of Russell Westbrook’s NBA interview career.
May 5, 2012 — ‘No more questions for you, bro’
If there were a Bible of Westbrook’s responses to postgame questions, the book of Genesis would begin with the first round of the 2012 NBA playoffs. After the Oklahoma City Thunder completed a sweep of the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks, a reporter asked Westbrook about his then-teammate (and fellow 2017 MVP front-runner) James Harden’s 29-point performance.
Reporter: Do you think Harden is a max player? Where would you rate him as a shooting guard in the NBA?
Westbrook: Ummm, James Harden is a great player for our team. He does a lot of great things for us, and he’s going to continue to do that for us. … No more questions for you, bro.
We learned early on that Russ can, and will, dictate whether or not you get a follow-up.
Feb. 12, 2013 — ‘Y’all n—-s trippin’’
This might be — no, this is — Russ’ most famous postgame moment. Type in “Westbrook meme” in Google and photos from the interview, which took place after a 109-94 Thunder loss to the Utah Jazz in 2013, pop right up. A clip from the video became an addictively watchable Vine that still lives on the internet today despite the service’s demise. None of it would have been possible if not for a pretty dumb question.
Reporter: Russell, did you guys lose this game, or did the Jazz win this one?
Westbrook: What! Bro, what are you talking about, man? Bro, I’m out, man. Y’all n—-s trippin’.
Jan. 15, 2015 — It’s all about ‘executing’
Russ went full Marshawn Lynch after a 127-115 win over the Golden State Warriors in January 2015, responding to nearly all of the postgame questions he received in the locker room with some form of the phrase “We did a good job of executing.” Berry Tramel, a columnist for The Oklahoman, took notice of the lack of variety in Westbrook’s answers and questioned him about it.
Travel: Are you upset with something?
Westbrook: Nah. I just don’t like you.
Tramel: You don’t?
Tramel: You don’t like Nick [Gallo, the Thunder’s sideline reporter and writer] either?
Westbrook: I love Nick. I don’t like you.
This wouldn’t be the last time that Russ and Tramel went at it.
Nov. 15, 2015 — Don’t EVER get Russ twisted
“Marcus Smart got the best of Russell Westbrook … ” are the first words of the Associated Press game story after the Thunder’s 100-85 loss to the Boston Celtics less than a month into the 2015-16 NBA season. Marcus Smart, then in his second season in the NBA, had scored an efficient 26 points to Russ’ hard-fought 27. The physicality of the matchup was a topic of discussion in the locker room.
Reporter: Russ, Marcus Smart played well. You often can wear down some people. He seems like one of the guys that physically can match up with you to some degree. Is there anything special about the way he played tonight?
Westbrook: Uhhh, no. I don’t agree with you, but no. He had a good game. You know, there are 82 games. I do this. Don’t get it twisted.
Reporter: Like I said, you wear down most people, but —
Westbrook: Don’t get it twisted. He had a good game. You gotta go another game tomorrow. We’ll see him again.
Westbrook ain’t scared of nobody. Not any reporter, and sure not Marcus Smart.
Nov. 26, 2015 — Reggie who?
At the February 2015 NBA trade deadline, the Thunder sent rising star guard Reggie Jackson to the Detroit Pistons in a three-team deal. That November, Jackson made his return to Oklahoma City, scoring 15 points in a 103-87 loss to his former team. Russ wasn’t impressed.
Reporter: There was a lot of anticipation about Reggie’s return to OKC. How do you think y’all handled him today?
Reporter: Reggie Jackson.
Westbrook: Oh, what happened?
Reporter: There was a lot of anticipation about his return to Oklahoma City. How do you think y’all handled —
Westbrook: From who?
Reporter From media … various people.
Westbrook: Nobody in this locker room. We wasn’t worried. We just came out and competed. Maybe from y’all, but just another player, another team.
Feb. 4, 2016 — ‘Oh, s—’
"Looking forward to Saturday?"
Westbrook: "What's going on Saturday?" pic.twitter.com/CdCIs1iQ8q
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 4, 2016
That one time Russ forgot that OKC was about to play the best team in the NBA.
Reporter: Are you looking forward to Saturday?
Westbrook: Uhhh, what’s going on Saturday?
Reporter: You’re playing Golden State.
Westbrook: Oh, s—. Yeah, yeah, I mean, it’ll be a good game. … I take it one day at a time. Enjoy this win tonight, go home, enjoy my family and then get ready for Saturday when that comes.
Honest mistake 😂.
April 18, 2016 — Russ might’ve ended Charlie Villanueva’s career
Charlie Villanueva tried to get in the way of Russell Westbrook and Cameron Payne's pregame routine: pic.twitter.com/7zhvasINPP
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) April 19, 2016
If you get in Russ’ way when he’s trying to dance, you’ll suffer the consequences. Charlie Villanueva learned that the hard way. Before Game 2 of Oklahoma City’s series against the Mavericks in the first round of the 2016 NBA playoffs, Villanueva stood between Westbrook and teammate Cameron Payne while they partook in their pregame dancing ritual. The Mavericks won the game, 85-84, but Westbrook had the last laugh when he and Kevin Durant were asked about the moment after the game. (Also remember: Earlier in the 2016 season, Villanueva was ejected from a game against the Thunder after trying to choke Westbrook.)
Reporter: Before the game, you were out waiting for the opening tip. Charlie Villanueva came out and sort of lingered behind you for a second. Did you know he was back there, and did he say anything? What was going through your mind?
Westbrook: Yeah, he said a lot. But now he get to go home and do whatever he need to do. Get ready for next year to sit down and watch 82 more games, like he did this year.
Kevin Durant: He might not even be in the league.
Durant was right. Villanueva was not on an NBA roster this season — he has not played in an NBA game since that Thunder-Mavericks series.
Oct. 26, 2016 — Apparently Russ uses Dove soap
Durant left the Thunder to sign with the Golden State Warriors as a free agent. The move didn’t sit too well with folks in Oklahoma City, especially his longtime teammate. The storyline of Westbrook and Durant’s resulting beef persisted throughout the summer of 2016, and on opening night of the 2016-17 NBA regular season, the Spurs blew out Durant and the Warriors, 129-100. The next night, when Oklahoma City was set to make its season debut, reporters couldn’t resist asking Russ if he caught the Warriors game.
Reporter: Did you watch any basketball last night, Russ?
Reporter: Did you check any scores?
Westbrook: Nah. I was busy doing something y’all probably don’t wanna hear about. I play cards, man. Just chilling, minding my business, eating a nice dinner, talking to my wife on the phone, and went to sleep if y’all wanna know. Took a shower. I used Dove soap.
Reporter: Is that an endorsement?
Westbrook: Nah, it’s not. Brushed my teeth. Washed my face. Went to sleep. Put a movie on before I went to sleep, and that’s what I did.
Dove should’ve inked a deal with this man ASAP.
Dec. 25, 2016 — ‘F— do I look like, man?’
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) December 25, 2016
Another chapter in the Westbrook-Durant saga: On Christmas Day 2016, the Warriors lost to the defending NBA champion Cavaliers. OKC was set to face the Timberwolves later that day, and before the game the Thunder tweeted out a video of Westbrook hitting an out-of-bounds 3-pointer before he ran to the locker room while yelling what the Twittersphere believed to be, ‘Thank you, Kyrie!’ — a reference to Cavs guard Kyrie Irving, and a shot at Durant and the Warriors losing. After the game, Westbrook revealed what he really said.
Reporter: Russell, there’s a video going around Twitter right now, where people on Twitter are saying you yelled, ‘Thank you, Kyrie.’ Do you want to comment on that at all?
Westbrook: What! F— do I look like, man? Foreal, man. When would I ever say that?
Reporter: I didn’t know if you wanted to clear anything up.
Westbrook: Clear what up? What video?
Reporter: There’s a video that the Thunder Twitter account tweeted out.
Westbrook: What video?
Reporter: It’s a video of you putting up a shot pregame.
Westbrook: I would never say no other man’s name like that. ‘Thank you, Kyrie.’ What do I look like, bro? I was talking to my trainer’s daughter … His daughter’s name is Jayme. ‘Thank you, Jayme.’ I’m tired … I ain’t even gonna keep going on that. I’m bout to keep my spirit up ’cause I’m not bout to involve myself in any dumb stuff like that, but next question.
As petty as Russ is, he isn’t petty all the time.
April 19, 2017 — Not giving a ‘f—’
Russ dropped 51 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists in Game 2 of OKC’s first-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets on April 19. The Thunder lost 115-111 but Westbrook’s video game-esque performance couldn’t be overlooked. After the game, The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears asked him about it.
Spears: When you look at your line on the box score, how would you grade the line?
Westbrook: I don’t give a f— about the line. We lost.
April 23 — ‘Next question’
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 23, 2017
The latest installment of Russ’ postgame news conference chronicles came last Sunday after the Thunder’s 109-103 loss to the Rockets in Game 4. Again, it was The Oklahoman’s Tramel asking the questions — and paying the price.
Tramel: Steven, second time in three games you guys really struggled when Russell went to the bench. You were out there for part of that. What goes on when he goes to the bench? Why is Houston so successful, and do you sense that they sort of get an energy boost just from him going out of the game?
Westbrook: Hold on, Steven. I don’t want nobody to try to split us up. We all one team. Regardless if I go to the bench, if Steven’s on the floor, if I’m off the floor, we in this together. Don’t split us up. Don’t try to split us up. Don’t make us go against each other, try to make it against Russell and the rest of the guys. Russell against Houston. I don’t want to hear that. We in this together. We playing as a team. And that’s all that matters. That’s it.
Tramel: Yeah, Russell. I’m not trying to split you up, but twice in three games you guys have not played well at all when you’ve gone to the bench …
Westbrook: That’s fine.
Tramel: … and I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on.
Westbrook: Say, ‘Russell, you ain’t played well at all.’ Say Russell and the team haven’t played well. Don’t say when Russell goes out, the team don’t play well. It don’t matter. We in this together.
Tramel: That may be, Russell, but I asked Steven a question, and it’s a legitimate question.
Westbrook: It’s not between me and you. Next question.
Tramel: It’s a legitimate question.
Westbrook: Next question … next question … next question.
Tramel: I’m going to keep the microphone. I had a question for Steven and it wasn’t answered. I don’t understand. If Steven wants to say … he still hasn’t said anything … if he wants to say, ‘I don’t want to answer that,’ fine.
Westbrook: Next question, please.
Moral of the story: If you come at Russ, or one of his teammates, with a question, you best not miss.