Ballers and Tiaras: Russell Westbrook is highly questionable


Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook’s style on and off the court may draw criticism, but with his playing, he doesn’t have to worry what his detractors say.

Rohan Nadkarni, Online Sports Editor

Last week, we discussed the significance of two NBA players bringing back the hi-top fade. Well, consider that the introductory course to Ballers and Tiaras. This week, we’re jumping right into the center of the NBA fashion world with one of its most polarizing figures, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.

Before we get started, Coral Glades High graduate and professional life saver Steven Berger (aka firefighter and paramedic student) deserves some credit for the idea of this column. When told The Current would be wading into the vast waters of NBA fashion, Berger immediately suggested that no NBA fashion column worth a lick could avoid the topic of Westbrook.

Westbrook attended the University of California, Los Angeles, so one would assume that during his time in trendy SoCal he would pick up some hot fashion tips. Instead, the mercurial point guard wears outfits like a white shirt adorned with fishing lures topped with lensless red glasses, leopard-print pants under a brown coat and short tie or a silvery, leathery vest over a gray shirt and too-tight turquoise pants.

So what’s my working theory here?

Westbrook’s poor fashion choices don’t come from insecurity or a need for attention. Instead, I’m sensing Westbrook’s fashion choices further help him embrace his bad boy image with opposing fans.

Listen, in reality, does Westbrook push the line further than his contemporaries? Probably not. Again, LeBron James wore leather sweat shorts recently. What does that even mean?

Westbrook’s issue resides in his public perception. The point guard plays in the shadow of arguably the second-greatest basketball player in the world, Kevin Durant. The media only seems to cover Westbrook when it can criticize him for not deferring enough to Durant.

The two alpha-dogs sometimes even boil over on the court, and on multiple occasions Durant and Westbrook argued on the sidelines of a close game.

At this point, Westbrook seems to have adopted his villainous personality with those outside of the team’s fan base. He even took it to the level of denying Denver fans free queso by blocking a halfcourt shot attempt by the Nuggets’ mascot.

Westbrook did not always dress this way. After a lengthy Google image research process, the results showed Westbrook began his career dressing conservative yet classy. But as soon as the country began criticizing his on-court decisions (pass it to Durant, stop shooting, don’t deny anyone in the history of America free queso ever), Westbrook’s fashion decisions started to yell back at your face.

Now, when people criticize Westbrook for looking like a color-blind Steve Urkel during press conferences, he can shrug off the naysayers and infuriate his haters even more.

But when Westbrook can do things like score the most points in an NBA Finals game since Dwyane Wade in 2006 or throw down a one-handed tomahawk dunk over a 7-footer, he probably doesn’t have to care what those haters think.