Russell Westbrook's Hard Work Earned Him the League's Respect

Russell Westbrook's Hard Work Earned Him the League's Respect

Dec 5, 2016, 2:28:00 AM Sport

Early in the NBA season, Russell Westbrook has already proven he shines brighter than any of the league's other stars. Westbrook has been averaging a triple-double each game and already has nine triple-doubles this season. Westbrook's impressive stats show why he is one of the league's best point guards, but his inspiring story earns him the respect of so many.

Often when NBA players tell their success stories, they were always the best player on their team and knew their futures were bright. Westbrook was different. He grew up Los Angeles, California in the Compton area. His childhood was not an easy one, and his family struggled financially. 

"I never thought I was going to play in the NBA," says Westbrook. "A lot of people who are in the NBA now have been good since they were eight. I wasn't good until I was 17."

In his first three years of high school, Westbrook was decent, but he did not start on his varsity team until his junior year. He was small, scrawny and overlooked. He was never a prized recruit either, yet somehow caught the attention of UCLA head coach Ben Howland.

Howland was constantly questioned about why he took any time to scout a 5'9, mediocre player, but he saw something no one else did. Westbrook's leadership skills impressed him, so he decided to keep a close eye out. 

During his senior year, Westbrook sprouted five inches and had an incredible season, averaging 25.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.1 steals and was named third-team All-State. 

Howland was proven right and Westbrook signed with UCLA. 

As a child, Westbrook's father used to always say, "Outwork them all," and he did just that. His story should be an inspiration to many and proves you don't have to be the biggest or the best. All it takes is some hard work and determination. 

I have a new found respect for Westbrook this year. For years, I've questioned why everyone loves him so much and why he is compared to some of the league's greatest. While many considered him to be the best point guard in the league last season, even above Steph Curry, I compared him more to a James Harden type and could not get passed his attitude. 

After hearing his story, it all made sense. Someone like Westbrook was forced to live his life with a chip on his shoulder. Everyone doubted him but that never stopped him. All it took was two people to believe in him: Ben Howland and himself. Now look at him. He leads all active players in the NBA with a total of 46 career triple-doubles and is sixth on the list all time. 

Westbrook's story shows the world if you believe in yourself, anything is possible. His incredible determination and perseverance have gotten him where he is today, which proves anyone can do it. 

Published by Lia Assimakopoulos

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