Russell Westbrook has a history of not being willing to answer even the most routine questions from the media at times, and has even snapped on occasion when the mood was just right.
After being ejected in the first half of his team’s overtime win over the Suns on Wednesday, Westbrook took a slightly gentler approach when conducting his postgame interview.
Did you get an explanation on the play you were ejected?
It was a big win for us.
How did it start?
Good win for us tonight. Good win.
What were your emotions like seeing that victory in overtime and watching your guys pull through?
Great win for us. We did a good job of sticking together and coming through with a win. …
You’ve been in so many close games. What does this do for you pulling this one out?
Big. Big win for us against a tough team. Good for us to win.
You think one of the Morris twin should have been ejected if they gave you that second technical?
Good win for us.
And so it went.
I’m not condoning the way Westbrook behaved in this situation, and it isn’t just because I’ve spent plenty of time in locker rooms asking some similar questions. The reason these guys get paid what they do is because of fan interest in watching them play, and the exposure from the media only helps in bringing the stories (and the players’ personalities) closer to those that spend the dollars consuming the product.
Westbrook, and all players, should act professionally in these situations, and take their media obligations seriously. But anytime we can revisit this infamous clip of Rasheed Wallace essentially setting the gold standard for repetitive answers with his “both teams played hard” mantra, we’ll give the offending party a pass.