John F. Kennedy was president. A dozen eggs cost 32 cents. A gallon of gas cost 28 cents. People were going to the movies to see “West Side Story,” and Andy Warhol was painting cans of tomato soup.
Also, in 1962, Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double for a full NBA season.
He was the last person to do it. Until Friday.
In Phoenix, Russell Westbrook guaranteed he will be the second person to put up those numbers for a season — he needed just six assists, and he got that in the third quarter against the Suns.
Westbrook had a couple generous assists handed him by the scorekeeper in Phoenix, but he also had a couple missed opportunities because Steven Adams missed point-blank shots.
There’s been a push in some quarters to denigrate what Westbrook has done this season in an effort to pump up James Harden for MVP. That must stop. Make a case for Harden (there’s a strong one), but do not dismiss what Westbrook has done — not just the triple-double average, which is impressive, but leading a team that plays at the level of an 18-win team when he is not on the court to the playoffs. He has been clutch for them in big games. There are no nights off for him — forget being sat to rest, he is out there every night going 110 percent. Fans get their money’s worth. He doesn’t have a second gear. Westbrook plays with a rage, with a ferocity, too often lacking in the long NBA regular season.
Westbrook deserves all the credit in the world for his season. It has been a joy to watch.