An open farewell to my favorite NBA player

russell westbrook

It’s been quite a ride, Russ. As I reflect on the last 11 years, I have a few things to say.

Thank you for teaching us.

It wasn’t your choice to land in a state that wasn’t exactly into professional basketball. By and large, we were a football state. A tailgatin’, college-football-lovin’ state.

But when the Oklahoma City Thunder arrived, we began to watch. And when you played, we listened.

You showed this new fan base what passionate athleticism looks like. You taught our sons and daughters to never give up, even when people try to drag you down. To ignore the negativity. To do everything with heart. To bring your all every single night.

Thank you for giving back to our city.

Even though you’re no longer here, your name will live on through your philanthropic efforts. From Russ’ Reading Rooms to the Why Not Foundation, your impact here won’t soon be forgotten.

That’s the thing about legacies. When people have exceptional influence, they don’t always use it for good. But, you did. And we’ll remember that years after you hang up your shoes.

Thanks for sharing your family with us.

Your family felt like our family – because you let them be. Your involvement in the community and public support of your wife and children were inspiring.

Just a few months ago you visited an Oklahoma City Blue game with your son and ended up seated behind me and my son. Just two parents out with their kids. It was a moment I won’t forget.

You showed the world that Oklahoma City is a great place to raise a family. We Okies have always known, but you helped us spread the world.

Thank you for showing us what loyalty looks like.

You had the chance to leave. Especially after Kevin Durant… you know. We all expected you to leave us in the cold like he did. And honestly, we wouldn’t have blamed you. It made sense.

But, you didn’t. You had unifnished business, and you’ve never been a quitter.

Thank you for your loyalty. For agreeing to come back for not just one year, but five. Sure, that didn’t exactly pan out the way we expected. But, you showed us what loyalty looks like. And, that’s pretty neat.

Thank you for securing our spot on the map.

Be honest… did you know much about Oklahoma City before coming here? My guess is, probably not. And sadly, that’s true for a majority of the country. Because of your tireless efforts, your insatiable thirst for success, and your crazed antics, people noticed Oklahoma City.

In a way, you helped put us on the map. You showed people that we don’t all ride horses and speak with thick country accents. The life you brought to this team cast a spotlight on our city in return. We’re all the better for it.

Thank you for the records.

You gave so many of us the opportunity to watch you break records in-person. Thousands of kids were inspired as they watched history unfold right before their eyes. It’s something they may never have seen otherwise.

One day, they’ll look back with fond memories of the time they saw a superstar in their very own city.

Thank you for trying.

You never, ever gave up. From the insane triple-double madness to the MVP award, you surprised and delighted fans across the world… especially right here in OKC.

Thank you for bringing your all every night. Win, lose, pass, fail… we knew you’d bring passion every time you stepped on the court.

And okay, yes, that passion sometimes felt like a curse… but, we loved you all the same.

I can’t even imagine the welcome you’ll receive the next time you walk onto the floor of the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The roar will be as deafening as it’s always been.

Because, true OKC Thunder fans don’t waiver.

We understand the NBA is a business. We knew this was coming.

We’ll still cheer for you. We’ll frame your jersey. Heck, hopefully we’ll even retire it.

Because at the end of the day, we want to see you win. You deserve it.

And, you’ll always be Oklahoma’s son.

Please don’t be a stranger, Brodie.

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