Russell Westbrook has always been a lightning rod since entering the NBA.
Praised for his otherworldly athleticism and criticized for his propensity to be an overzealous shooter, Westbrook is the very definition of polarization.
Westbrook’s style of play has been endearing to fans and effective enough to land him in the playoffs 11 times in his career. It also landed him in four teams over the past four seasons.
A frequent critic of Westbrook has been FS1’s own Skip Bayless, and those criticisms at one point became too much for some fans in Oklahoma City, Bayless’s hometown.
During an episode of “The Skip Bayless Show” podcast, Bayless recalled how he received death threats from Oklahoma City Thunder fans during the 2012 NBA Finals.
“Real, real, inveterate death threats,” Bayless said. “I thought they were legitimate death threats, so I passed them on to ESPN security. As we’re about to venture into my hometown of Oklahoma City, they had to tell me. hire a bodyguard, who ended up being a Los Angeles cop whose primary duty was to serve and protect the police chief when he went out in public.”
Skip Bayless needed a bodyguard at OKC after criticizing Westbrook
Skip Bayless shares why he needed a bodyguard when he returned to his hometown of Oklahoma City for the NBA Finals after criticizing former Thunder star Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook averaged 23.1 points, 5.9 assists and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 43.5% from the field in this run to the NBA Finals, although the Thunder ultimately fell to the Miami Heat in five games.
Westbrook’s star continued to rise and he won the NBA MVP award in the 2016-17 season.
Bayless pointed out that while Westbrook has been a great player both individually and as a triple-double machine, the player prioritizes compiling stats over winning. And he said the Lakers’ struggles this season support that criticism.
“He’s been exposed for exactly what he is: nothing but a great sideshow, a solo act, a stat machine,” Bayless said. “…And now Russell West-brick is THE reason the NBA’s preseason betting favorite – LeBron’s Lakers – is now a .500 team.”
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