There’s this saying going around:
“May the Kevin Durant in your life leave you so you can be the Russell Westbrook you were meant to be.”
If you’re not a follower of the NBA or a citizen of Oklahoma, this may not mean much to you. But, it’s an important topic to discuss.
As a sports writer, basketball is on my mind pretty much all the time. And folks, the Oklahoma City Thunder is my team. When Kevin Durant (you may also know him as “Oklahoma’s beloved son”) left for the city’s biggest rival in July of 2016, it broke the collective heart of Thunder fans across the nation.
While it was upsetting for many (except me because I never liked him anyway), Durant’s departure paved the way for something absolutely amazing to fill the void.
That something is Russell Westbrook.
You don’t have to follow basketball to know his name. The point guard made history a few days ago when he became the first player in the NBA to earn 42 triple-doubles in a regular season (10+ points, 10+ assists, 10+ rebounds). If you’re unsure what that means, please trust me—it’s incredible. It’s mind-blowing. Honestly, it’s unfathomable.
But, the thing is: Russell Westbrook has been on the Thunder roster since 2008. He’s worn an OKC jersey almost as long as Kevin Durant wore his, and he’s played with fire and energy since his first year in the NBA. People just didn’t notice him until now.
He was undeniably overshadowed by Kevin Durant.
This season, the first without Durant, Oklahoma City will enter the playoffs in a secured sixth spot. Not to mention, Russell Westbrook has a really good chance of being named MVP.
In fact, if he doesn’t get the title, I riot.
Would Russell Westbrook have been in the running for MVP had Durant stayed? Probably not.
Would the triple-double record have been shattered? No. I guarantee it.
Sometimes, terrible things happen. And at the time, it can be difficult to understand why. If we’re lucky, we get to see the bigger picture after the smoke clears. Other times, we just have to trust the path.
Take my story, for example.
I’ve talked about the people in previous chapters of my life who brought me down. Back then, I was stressed, sick, depressed, anxious, fearful, and insecure in their presence…never felt like I could be my true self…was overshadowed…couldn’t live up to my potential.
When I removed myself from that situation, everything changed. It was difficult at first—as most big decisions are—but I’m so happy now. I’m stronger, confident, and enjoying the recognition that comes with being respected.
Now, I feel like a Russell.
Maybe you’ve been let go from a job, and the sting and fear of uncertainty is very real. Take a moment to find your perspective. Were you happy there? Were you looking for a way out? Did your boss truly care about your wellbeing? Do you have bigger dreams?
An ended relationship, a friendship gone awry, whatever is troubling you…
it seems impossible right now, but you may come to discover the silver lining.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not implying that devastating life events are as simple as a game of basketball. Entertainment and human emotions are not one in the same.
But I am saying that when you need a little inspiration to get through the day, this is a really great example of perspective.
If you simply can’t relate to basketball, here’s what I’m trying to say: after the storm, there’s a rainbow. Where land was once destroyed, a flower blooms.
And if you can relate to basketball, here’s to hoping the James Harden in your life shuts his mouth next.