Russell Westbrook III (born November 12, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is a six-time NBA All-Star and a two-time NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (MVP), winning consecutive awards in 2015 and 2016. He is also a six-time All-NBA Team member and led the league in scoring in 2014–15 and 2016–17.
Westbrook played college basketball for the UCLA Bruins and earned third-team all-conference honors in the Pac-10. He was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, who then relocated to Oklahoma City six days later. Westbrook has represented the United States national team twice, winning gold medals in the 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2012 Olympics.
In 2017, Westbrook became one of two players in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season, along with Oscar Robertson in 1962. He also set a record for the most triple-doubles in a season, with 42.
Westbrook was born in Long Beach, California, to Russell Westbrook Jr. and Shannon Horton. He has a younger brother named Raynard. Growing up in Hawthorne, Westbrook and his best friend, Khelcey Barrs III, had hopes of going to UCLA and playing together. However, in May 2004, Barrs died from an enlarged heart during a pickup game.
Westbrook entered Leuzinger High School as an unheralded 5-foot-8, 140-pound freshman point guard with size 14 shoes. He did not start on his school’s varsity team until his junior year, and did not receive his first college recruiting letter until the summer before his senior year. Westbrook reached his adult height of 6′3″ that same summer.
During his senior year, Westbrook averaged 25.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.1 steals, and 2.3 assists and helped lead them to a 25-4 record. That same season, he recorded 14 double-doubles, scored 30 or more points on eight separate occasions, and registered a career-best 51 points at Carson on January 6, 2006. Westbrook did not attract much attention from top college basketball programs until Ben Howland offered him a scholarship to play for the UCLA Bruins after Jordan Farmar declared for the NBA draft.
Westbrook wore number 0 throughout his career at UCLA. In his freshman year, he played as a back up to Darren Collison and was primarily used as a defender and energy player off the bench. Westbrook averaged 3.4 points, 0.8 rebounds, and 0.7 assists on the year. The next season, Collison was injured and Westbrook was named the starter. He finished the season averaging 12.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.6 steals. At the end of the year, he was named All-Pac-10 Third Team and won the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year.
UCLA advanced to the Final Four during each of Westbrook’s seasons with the team. In 2007, they lost to eventual national champion Florida, 76–66 and in 2008, they lost 78–63 to Memphis. After two years at UCLA, he decided to forgo his final two years and enter the 2008 NBA draft.
Westbrook was selected 4th overall in the 2008 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics (which then relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder six days later). He signed with the team on July 5, 2008. On March 2, 2009, Westbrook recorded his first career triple double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He was the first rookie since Chris Paul and the third rookie in Sonics/Thunder franchise history (Art Harris and Gary Payton) to record a triple-double.
Westbrook averaged 15.3 points, 5.3 assists, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.3 steals on the season. He finished fourth in the 2008–09 NBA Rookie of the Year voting behind Rookie of the Year winner Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls), O. J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies) and Brook Lopez (New Jersey Nets). He was named to the NBA’s NBA All-Rookie First Team.
In his second year, and first season as a full-time starter, Westbrook went on to average 16.1 points, 8.0 assists, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.3 steals on the season. On April 4, 2010, he recorded 10 points and a career-high 16 assists in a 116-108 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Thunder made a huge turnaround by more than doubling their wins from the previous season and qualified for the playoffs with a 50–32 record. However, the Thunder were eliminated by the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. In the series, Westbrook stepped up his play from the regular season, averaging 20.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 3.2 steals.
On November 26, 2010, Westbrook scored a then-career-high 43 points against the Indiana Pacers. On December 1, 2010, he scored 38 points with 9 assists and achieved a new career-high of 15 rebounds in a triple-overtime win over the New Jersey Nets. Westbrook was selected by the NBA head coaches to be a Western Conference reserve for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game. This was his first all-star appearance. Westbrook finished the season with averages of 21.9 points, 8.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.9 steals. He was named to the All-NBA Second Team for the first time. The Thunder finished the season at 55–27 and lost to the eventual world champion Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. Westbrook averaged 23.8 points, 6.4 assists and 5.4 rebounds in the playoffs.
In the 2011–12 season, Westbrook was again selected by the coaches to participate in the 2012 NBA All-Star Game. On March 23, 2012, he scored a career-high 45 points in a 149–140 double overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He averaged 23.6 points, 5.5 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals for the lockout-shortened season and was voted to the All-NBA Second Team for the second year in a row. Westbrook helped lead the Thunder to the NBA Finals for the first time since the franchise relocated but OKC would lose in five games to the Miami Heat. On June 12, in game 1 of the Finals, Westbrook recorded 27 points and 11 assists in a 105-94 victory. He joined Michael Jordan as the only players with 25+ points and 10+ assists in their NBA Finals debut. In a game 4 loss, Westbrook scored a playoff career high 43 points.
Westbrook was once again selected for the NBA All-Star Game. He finished the 2012–13 season averaging 23.2 points, 7.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game. Westbrook helped lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to the playoffs and the #1 seed in the Western Conference. They would go on to face the 8th seed Houston Rockets in the first round. On April 25, 2013, in the second game of the series, Westbrook injured his right knee when Rockets guard Patrick Beverley collided with him in an attempt to steal the ball. Although Westbrook was clearly bothered by the injury, he would continue playing and finished the game with 29 points. It was then revealed the next day that he had suffered a slight tear in his right meniscus. He had surgery on April 27, 2013, and was declared out for the rest of the playoffs. Without Westbrook, the Thunder defeated the Rockets in 6 games but fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in 5 games in the next round. Westbrook was named to the All-NBA Second Team for the third consecutive year.
Prior to the start of the 2013–14 season, Westbrook had a second surgery on his right knee, which set back his return to basketball. Despite reports that he would miss the first two weeks of the regular season, Westbrook would miss only the first two games. On December 25, 2013, Westbrook recorded 14 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists as Oklahoma City beat the New York Knicks 123-94. This was just the eighth triple-double on Christmas Day in NBA history. The win was also the largest margin of victory in a Christmas Day game in NBA history. On the day after his Christmas-day game, it was announced that Westbrook would undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and would be out until after the All-Star break. During this time, The Thunder were able to remain competitive despite his absence due mainly to Kevin Durant’s stellar play. Westbrook returned to the lineup on February 20, 2014. He played the rest of the season on limited minutes and sat out the second night of back-to-backs.
On March 4, 2014, Westbrook recorded his second triple-double of the season. He recorded 13 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds, in just 20 minutes in a 125–92 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. This was the second fastest recorded triple-double in NBA history. Westbrook and the Thunder finished with a 59-23 record earning the #2 seed in the Western Conference. They advanced to the Western Conference Finals where they faced the San Antonio Spurs. On May 27, 2014, in a game 4 victory, Westbrook recorded 40 points, 5 rebounds, 10 assists and 5 steals. In doing so, he joined Michael Jordan as the only other player to post those numbers in a playoff game. The Thunder lost the series to the eventual NBA champion Spurs in six games. Westbrook averaged 26.7 points, 8.1 assists, and 7.3 rebounds in the postseason, and became the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1964 to average at least 26 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds in the playoffs.
After scoring 38 points in a 106–89 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2014–15 season opener, Westbrook suffered a small fracture of the second metacarpal in his right hand the following game against the Los Angeles Clippers and subsequently missed 14 games with the injury. He joined Kevin Durant on the sidelines after Durant fractured his right foot during preseason and was ruled out for six to eight weeks. With the pair both inactive for the start of the season, the Thunder dropped to a 4–12 record prior to Westbrook’s return on November 28 against the New York Knicks. In Westbrook’s first game back, he led the Thunder to a win over the Knicks with 32 points. Durant returned the following game to face the New Orleans Pelicans, as the pair helped the Thunder go on a seven-game winning streak to bring the Thunder back into playoff contention. On January 16, 2015, Westbrook recorded his ninth career triple-double with 17 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high 17 assists in a 127–115 win over the Golden State Warriors, becoming just the fifth player in NBA history to record a stat line of 15–15–15 in a game.
After tying a career-high 45 points on February 4, 2015 in a 102–91 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, Westbrook broke that mark to score a new career-high of 48 points two days later, this time in a 116–113 loss to the Pelicans. After being injured the previous year, Westbrook returned to the All-Star game in 2015. He tallied 41 points, and was named the All-Star MVP. He scored 27 points in 11 minutes in the first half, setting an All-Star record for points in a half, and finished one point shy of the All-Star game record set by Wilt Chamberlain (42) in 1962. On February 22, Westbrook recorded 21 points and tied a career-high 17 assists in a 119–94 win over the Denver Nuggets. Two days later, he recorded 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 105–92 win over the Indiana Pacers. In doing so he claimed his third triple-double of the season and 11th of his career despite resting for the entire fourth quarter. On February 27, in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, Westbrook recorded 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists to become the first player to have three straight triple-doubles since LeBron James did so in 2009. Westbrook finished the month of February averaging 31.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game, and became just the second player in NBA history to average 30 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists per game for a calendar month with at least 10 games played, joining Robertson, who accomplished the feat multiple times.
On March 4, Westbrook set career-highs with 49 points and 16 rebounds, and added 10 assists for his fourth consecutive triple-double, helping the Thunder defeat the Philadelphia 76ers 123–118 in overtime. He subsequently became the first player since Michael Jordan in 1989 to have four consecutive triple-doubles, and the first since Jordan that year to have back-to-back triple-doubles with at least 40 points. It was also the most points by any player with a triple-double since Larry Bird also scored 49 in 1992. His streak came to an end the following night against the Chicago Bulls as he recorded 43 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in a 105–108 loss. On March 8, he recorded his fifth triple-double in six games to help the Thunder defeat the Toronto Raptors, 108–104. He had 30 points, matched a career-high with 17 assists and grabbed 11 rebounds for his seventh triple-double of the season and 15th of his career. In much too similar fashion, Westbrook recorded yet another triple-double on March 13 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, collecting his sixth in eight games and scored 15 of his 29 points (with 12 assists and 10 rebounds) in the fourth quarter, helping the Thunder pull away for a 113–99 win.[ He went on to record three more triple-doubles to finish the season. On April 12, he scored a career-high 54 points on 21-of-43 shooting in a losing effort to the Indiana Pacers. He went on to help the Thunder win the final two games of the 2014–15 season, but it wasn’t enough to position the Thunder in the playoffs, as they finished ninth in the West with a 45–37 record.
On October 28, 2015, Westbrook opened the Thunder’s 2015–16 season with a game-high 33 points and 10 assists in a 112–106 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Two days later, in a double-overtime win over the Orlando Magic, Westbrook and Kevin Durant became the first pair of teammates to each score at least 40 points in a single game since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen accomplished the feat in 1996. Westbrook had 48 and Durant had 43 as the Thunder defeated the Magic 139–136. On November 10, Westbrook recorded his first triple-double of the season (20th of career) with 22 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds in a 125–101 win over the Washington Wizards. Three days later, he recorded his second straight triple-double, recording 21 points, a then career-high 17 rebounds and 11 assists in a 102–85 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. On December 27, in a win over the Denver Nuggets, Westbrook had 30 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds, just missing what would have been his fourth triple-double of the season. In that game, Westbrook and Durant became the first teammates to each have at least 25 points and 10 assists in a regulation game since Utah’s John Stockton (31 points, 11 assists) and Karl Malone (27 points, 10 assists) on February 2, 1996. On January 4, he was named NBA Western Conference co-Player of the Month for December alongside Durant.
On January 20, 2016, Westbrook recorded 16 points, 15 assists, eight rebounds, and five steals against the Charlotte Hornets, becoming just the fourth player in NBA history with at least 15 points, 15 assists, five rebounds and five steals in a game. On February 3, he recorded his third straight triple-double and eighth of the season with 24 points, a career-high 19 rebounds and 14 assists in a 117–114 win over the Orland Magic. Westbrook was voted to start in his first All-Star Game in 2016, and he earned his second MVP award after a 196–173 win by the West. He recorded 31 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and five steals in 22 minutes, and became the first player in All-Star history to win consecutive MVPs outright. Bob Pettit is the other player to have won two back-to-back awards, winning in 1958 and sharing it with Elgin Baylor in 1959. On March 9, he recorded his 11th triple-double of the season with 25 points, a career-high 20 assists and 11 rebounds in a 120–108 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. The stat line marked the NBA’s first triple-double with at least 25 points, 20 assists and 10 rebounds since Magic Johnson did it for the Los Angeles Lakers in 1988, and the first with at least 20 points and 20 assists since Rod Strickland did it for the Washington Wizards in 1998. On March 22, he recorded his 15th triple-double of the season and 34th of his career with 21 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds in a 111–107 win over the Houston Rockets, setting the most triple-doubles by a player in a season since 1988–89, when Magic Johnson had 17 and Michael Jordan had 15. It was also Westbrook’s sixth triple-double in March, the most by a player in a calendar month since Jordan had seven in April 1989. On April 11, with his 18th triple-double of the season in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers, he tied Magic Johnson (1981–82) for the most in a single season in the past 50 seasons.
In the playoffs, Westbrook helped guide the Thunder past the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, and then the San Antonio Spurs in the second round. In the Western Conference Finals, they faced the defending champion Golden State Warriors, and took home court advantage after stealing Game 1 of the series. With the series tied at 1–1 after Game 2, the Thunder returned home and took a 3–1 advantage with two home wins. In Game 4, Westbrook recorded his fifth career playoff triple-double with 36 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a 118–94 win. Despite going up 3–1 in the series, the Thunder were defeated 4–3 by the Warriors to bow out of the playoffs.
Following the off-season departure of Kevin Durant, trade speculation began swirling around Westbrook, with his contract set to expire in 2017. The Thunder were determined to keep Westbrook and held off all trade talks in order to work out an extension. On August 4, 2016, Westbrook signed a three-year, $85.7 million contract extension with the Thunder. In the Thunder’s second game of 2016–17 on October 28, Westbrook recorded his 38th career regular-season triple-double with 51 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in a 113–110 overtime win over the Phoenix Suns, marking the first 50-point triple-double since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had one in 1975. Westbrook also took a career-high 44 shots. Two days later, he recorded 33 points, 12 rebounds and 16 assists in a 113–96 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, joining Robertson, Magic Johnson, and Jerry Lucas as the only players in NBA history with two triple-doubles in the first three games of a season. On November 30, he recorded his fourth straight triple-double with 35 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in a 126–115 overtime win over the Washington Wizards, becoming just the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double heading into December (joining Robertson). He extended that streak to seven straight on December 9 with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 102–99 loss to the Houston Rockets—the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989.
Forty-one games into the season, Westbrook was averaging 30.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists per game, marking the latest anyone had averaged a triple-double since Robertson in 1966–67, when he became the first player to average a triple-double for an entire season (30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists). On January 15, 2017, Westbrook had 36 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his 20th triple-double of the season, as he helped the Thunder defeat the Sacramento Kings 122–118. He joined Robertson (5 times) and Chamberlain (2) as the only players in NBA history to record 20 triple-doubles in a season. His 21st triple-double of the season came on January 18 in a loss to former teammate Durant and the Golden State Warriors. On January 23, Westbrook hit a pull-up jumper with 1.4 seconds left to lift the Thunder to a 97–95 win over the Utah Jazz. He finished with 38 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his 22nd triple-double of the season and No. 59 for his career, tying Larry Bird for fifth on the career list. Two days later, he had 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a 114–105 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, thus passing Bird with his 60th career triple-double. Heading into All-Star Weekend, Westbrook was averaging 31.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 10.1 assists in 57 games. Westbrook went on to record three straight triple-doubles coming out of the All-Star break, giving him 67 for his career and 30 on the season. On March 7, Westbrook’s career-high 58 points wasn’t enough to lift the Thunder over the Portland Trail Blazers, losing 126–121. His 31st triple-double of the season, which came on March 9 against the San Antonio Spurs, matched Wilt Chamberlain’s 1967–68 campaign for the second-most in a season. He surpassed Chamberlain’s record with his 32nd triple-double on March 11 against the Jazz. Westbrook went on to tie Robertson’s single-season record of 41 triple-doubles on April 4 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Westbrook also moved into a tie with Chamberlain for fourth on the career list with his 78th triple-double. Three days later, he joined Robertson (in 1961–62) as the only players in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season, needing just six assists against the Phoenix Suns to clinch the triple-double average. His historic 42nd triple-double, to break Robertson’s record of most triple-doubles in a season, came in a 106–105 away victory against the Denver Nuggets on April 9. Westbrook scored 18 of his 50 points in the last five minutes, including a 36-foot game-winning buzzer-beater, to overcome a 14-point deficit. As a result, Westbrook moved into fourth place for most triple-doubles in NBA history with 79, surpassing Chamberlain’s 78. It was his third career 50-point triple-double, all of which came in 2016–17, the most by any player in NBA history. The Thunder finished the regular season with a 47–35 record and entered the playoffs as the No. 6 seed.
On April 19, in Game 2 of the Thunder’s first-round playoff series against the Rockets, Westbrook had 51 points in the highest-scoring triple-double in playoff history. Westbrook set a franchise playoff scoring record and added 13 assists and 10 rebounds, marking his sixth career playoff triple-double. Despite his efforts, the Thunder lost 115–111 to go down 2–0 in the series. In Game 4 four days later, Westbrook had 35 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists, but could not lead the Thunder to a win, as they went down 3–1 in the series with a 113–109 loss. Westbrook joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to claim three consecutive playoff triple-doubles. With a loss to the Rockets in Game 5, the Thunder bowed out of the playoffs with a 4–1 series defeat. Westbrook had 47 points in Game 5 and came up just one assist shy of his fourth straight triple-double.
In 2010, he was selected to the FIBA World Championship team in Istanbul, Turkey. On a team without an All-Star or a single member from its 2008 Olympic gold-medal team, Westbrook was considered a star on the team. The 2010 team relied heavily on a small lineup, and Westbrook finished in the top five on the team in minutes per game, and top three in points and assists per game. Team USA went 9-0 to win its first World Championship since 1994. The win automatically qualified Team USA for the 2012 Olympics in London, and they overtook Argentina for the No. 1 world ranking.
Westbrook was also selected to play for the 2012 Summer Olympic team in London, where he won a second gold medal. He declined an invitation to join the 2016 Olympic team.
Standing at 6 feet 3 inches tall (1.91 m) and weighing 200 pounds (91 kg), Westbrook is a point guard who has established himself as one of the most athletic players in NBA history. He is also widely known for playing at a high level of intensity and for being able to keep that intensity for the majority of his playing time. Westbrook will often look to push the pace of the game for transition points and attack the basket. Though attacking the rim is his forte, he will frequently pull up for medium range jump shots. Westbrook regularly creates good scoring opportunities for his teammates, resulting in him averaging over seven assists per game for his career. Westbrook is widely recognized as one of the best all-around players in the NBA, having recorded 87 triple-doubles over his career (79 regular season, 8 playoff). His 79 regular season triple-doubles is ranked fourth-most all-time and his eight playoff triple-doubles is tied for seventh-most all-time. 42 of his 79 regular season triple-doubles have come during the 2016–17 season, breaking Oscar Robertson’s single-season record of 41, a record he set during the 1961–62 season. He subsequently joined Robertson as the only players in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season. Westbrook’s three-point shooting and turnovers are often brought to attention when pundits criticize his game. He averages 30% on three-point field goal attempts and 3.9 turnovers a game for his career.
In October 2012, Westbrook signed with the Jordan Brand. His first commercial was with the Jordan Brand and Champs in which a high school athlete purchased Jordan gear from Champs and transformed into Westbrook and won a state championship.
In November 2013, Westbrook signed with Kings and Jaxs Boxer Briefs. He stated that, “I have always loved fashion so working with Kings & Jaxs was a natural fit as we both have a fearless and creative approach to style.”
In February 2015, Westbrook was named Marketing Creative Director of the denim brand True Religion and signed with PepsiCo to become the global face of Mountain Dew Kickstart.
Westbrook wears a “KB3” wristband and has “KB3” on his sneakers in honor of his childhood friend Khelcey Barrs.
On August 29, 2015, Westbrook married his college sweetheart Nina Earl. The couple’s first child, a boy named Noah Russell Westbrook, was born on May 16, 2017.