Last night’s (Apr.2) game versus the Los Angeles Lakers was much different for Russell Westbrook with the tragic death of his friend Nipsey Hussle still fresh on his mind. To honor the late rapper/philanthropist, the Brodie put on a historic performance for the ages that would make the Victory Lap crafter proud.
Russell Westbrook never really needs any motivation to do the spectacular things he does on the court night in and night out but this night was different. Walking into the arena rocking a blue Crenshaw t-shirt, it was clear Hussle was on the Los Angeles native’s mind.
Before Tip-off the Thunder point guard sat by himself dribbling a basketball between his legs vibing out to Hussle’s track “Grindin’ All My Life,” clearly intending to ball out in honor of the Crenshaw rapper.
What preceded that was a magical performance with Westbrook recording 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 21 assists. With his incredible showing, he became only the second player to accomplish such a feat joining the great Wilt Chamberlain. After the Thunder’s 119-103 win over the Lakers with a heavy heart, Russ pounded on his chest screaming “That’s for Nipsey!”
Following the game, speaking with NBA on TNT’s sideline reporter Jason Terry, Westbrook spoke on his incredible night.
“Grateful to play the game, but that wasn’t for me, man. That was for my bro, man. That was for Nipsey, Rest in peace to Nipsey, man. I’m just thankful to go out there and compete at a high level, man. Thankful to have these teammates, thankful and humbled to go out there and play the game I love.”
“Just an unbelievable moment that I definitely won’t take for granted, won’t let pass by. Just completely humbled and thankful to go out and play, man. I don’t even know what to say, how to put it into words, honestly. I just do what I can, honestly.”
Westbrook was determined to get the milestone waving off head coach Billy Donovan’s substitution with 1:04 left and the Thunder comfortable up 16 on the Lakers. Rebound 19 came after Steven Adams missed a free throw and number 20 shortly followed after an Isaac Bonga on the next possession. The Thunder bench erupted knowing they just witnessed something special.
Just another reason why the NBA is the best professional sports league in the world. As you can imagine #NBATwitter reacted to Russ’ epic and inspiring performance, you can see all of the Tweets in the gallery below.
Photo: Lilly Lawrence / Getty
Russell Westbrook has just completed the first Double Triple Double game (20 PTS/20 REB/20 AST) in NBA history since Wilt Chamberlain did it on February 2nd, 1968.— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) April 3, 2019
I don’t think folks understand...— L E F T, PhD ⚫️ (@LeftSentThis) April 3, 2019
The fact that Russell Westbrook went out, in honor of Nipsey Hussle, and put up 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 20 assists, from a hood perspective, this goes down as one of the greatest sports feats of all time. pic.twitter.com/dxHxymZ1mM
Top class, @russwest44.— That Ain't The DJ, That's My DJ (@CoryTownes) April 3, 2019
The Marathon continues. 🏁
“Dedication, Hardwork plus Patience” 💙🏁💙 pic.twitter.com/VyPwNfGFp9— Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) April 3, 2019
Russell Westbrook just recorded the first 20-20-20 line in 51 years 🤯— SLAM (@SLAMonline) April 3, 2019
20 Points ✅
21 Assists ✅
20 Rebounds ✅ pic.twitter.com/FZI871nhXj
russell westbrook is so important— Rembert Browne (@rembert) April 3, 2019
@russwest44 just did the hardest, realest shit I ever seen and dropped 20+20+20 for Nip that’s craze— Uno👨🏽🎤 (@callmequi_) April 3, 2019
Much respect for Russell Westbrook's all-time stat line (especially for the 20 rebounds and 21 assists) and for his pregame, in-game and postgame dedication.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) April 3, 2019
russell westbrook, born in los angeles, drops the nba’s first 20-20-20 game since 1968, against the lakers, in honor of longtime friend nipsey hussle.— Max Goofy 👨🏾💻 (@maxalan) April 3, 2019
it’s bigger than sports. pic.twitter.com/irbRB71Qbh
Russell Westbrook, put this show on for Nipsey! He tied Oscar Robertson for the ONLY other person to have a 20-20-20 game!— Jacoby (@onlyonejacoby) April 3, 2019
Russ said “THATS FOR NIPSEY! THATS FOR NIPSEY!” Couldn’t ask for a better leader! Oklahoma, you better appreciate your POINT GUARD pic.twitter.com/ccWF3j0X5g