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Lakers star Russell Westbrook speaks out against taunting

Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers star guard Russell Westbrook opened up about the taunting he has received from fans during this NBA season. 

During a post-game press conference, Westbrook addressed a series of tweets posted by his wife, Nina, which detailed the harassment the guard receives daily, including “death wishes” towards her and her family. 

“I 100 percent stand behind my wife and how she’s feeling,” Westbrook told the media. “When it comes to basketball, I don’t mind the criticism of missing and making shots. But the moment it becomes where my name is getting shamed, it becomes an issue.”

This comes as the Lakers fell to the San Antonio Spurs in a 117-110 loss on Monday, with Westbrook’s poor long-distance shooting performance in the game leading fans to use the term “Westbrick” to taunt him, according to USA Today. 

Westbrook, who is the NBA’s all-time leader in triple doubles and was recently named to its 75th anniversary team, said taunts from fans didn’t bother him until he attended a parent teacher-conference at which the teacher shared that his son, Noah, is proud of his last name  

“Me and my wife were at teacher-parent conference for my son. And the teacher told me, ‘Noah, he’s so proud of his last name. He writes it everywhere. He writes it on everything. He tells everybody and walks around and says, ‘I’m Westbrook.’ … And I kind of sat there in shock, and it hit me, like, ‘Damn. I can no longer allow people [to tarnish my family’s name],’” Westbrook said. 

Westbrook added that he has discouraged his family members from attending his games due to the taunting. 

“I haven’t done anything to anybody. I haven’t hurt anyone. I haven’t done anything but play basketball a way that people might not like,” Westbrook said. “And this is just a game. Just a game. This is not my entire life. I think that’s the ultimate thing that’s been for me. I don’t like to harp on it or want it out there. But once it starts to affect my family, my wife. Even today, my mom said something about it today,” Westbrook said. 

During a first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers last May, a fan poured a bag of popcorn on Westbrook, who was then playing for the Washington Wizards, as he was leaving the game with an apparent injury. Security officials had to restrain Westbrook, who appeared to want to confront the fan.

The 76ers announced it has banned the fan involved in that incident and revoked his season ticket membership.

Tags Basketball Los Angeles Lakers NBA Russell Westbrook
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