Watch: Russell Westbrook wins MVP and NBA Fans with Emotional Speech
By Brandon Simmons
It’s official! Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook has won the 2016-2017 NBA MVP award. Monday, at the NBA awards, Westbrook received his trophy amongst family, friends, teammates and contemporaries. What started out as the usual grateful speech, turned into an emotional dialogue in which he praised his parents, little brother and wife for their support:
Many will tell you that this year’s race was close but Westbrook pretty much stole the show. After the Thunder traded away Serge Ibaka and infamously lost Kevin Durant to free agency, the superstar became their hope. Westbrook led the league in scoring with 31.6 ppg and helped pushed his team to the 6th seed of the playoffs, when people had written them off in the strong Western Conference. He also led all guards in rebounding with 10.7 rpg. Combine that with his 10.4 apg and he is the first player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple double over the course of an NBA season. He can credit that accomplish to the single season record 42 triple doubles he recorded.
There was some controversy as to whether or not Westbrook deserved the award. Fans debated that his competition in the race – San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard and Houston Rockets’ James Harden – played on teams who were more successful because of their individual efforts. Harden actually averaged more assists (11.2 apg) as he helped his teammates become better en route to the 3 seed in the West, only a year after finishing 8th.
But in the end, the excitement for Westbrook’s record just carried him into that award. In a year where players were criticized heavily for forming “super teams” he was the antithesis of that notion and grinded it out in a manner that made a lot of legendary players proud. It’s possible that he may have shot too many times and was not as efficient statistically, but he was efficient in getting his team a win, where it counted.
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