Russell Westbrook was the guy who stayed. He came with the team from Seattle, was a critical part of the run to the NBA Finals, then when Kevin Durant bolted it was Westbrook who re-signed and then went on a historic triple-double run to an MVP trophy. He only left when Paul George forced his way to the coast and it was time for a rebuild in OKC.
Westbrook returned to Oklahoma City Thursday night and was welcomed like a conquering hero.
First, there was the video tribute (which was very well done by the Thunder).
Russ returns to OKC. Here's our tribute video he watched in the arena tonight. pic.twitter.com/tNsf3J8nGe
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 10, 2020
Then came the raucous standing ovation.
Russell Westbrook receives a massive standing ovation as he's introduced back in Oklahoma City for the first time! pic.twitter.com/EgtvXCGSos
— NBA (@NBA) January 10, 2020
After that, Westbrook went through his traditional pregame routine — fist bumps for the stat crew, shooting arrows, a sprint to the corner — which even fired up the fans more.
Westbrook will always be loved in OKC, and can return someday to see his jersey retired there in the rafters.