Russell Westbrook’s Complicated Homecoming – The New York Times

LAWNDALE, Calif. – “Go home,” Russell Westbrook shouted with a heckler sitting behind the players’ bench. “Go home,” he repeated.

Crowds at the end of February this eruption of the low New Orleans Pelicans had quickly turned around. The screams and insults were so bad that Mr. Westbrook’s Los Angeles Lakers’ teammates seemed ready to meet the fans on the first line. LeBron James got into an altercation with a garbageman, while Trevor Ariza had to restrain himself from meeting anyone.

“I’m not Kobe, I’m not Kobe,” an angry lover said, said Michael Morales, who filmed a court exchange at Arena in Los Angeles.

Drunkards scream in a natural way. Runners are paying off – especially for fans in chairs who run $ 3,500 pop.

“I’m a big fan of Laker,” says Morales, a 38-year-old postmaster who runs every town on change, coming to the game more often than Jack Nicholson and putting up nearby movies that can help him. thousands of dollars on Facebook Reels. But “right now,” he said, “it’s hard to watch.” Mr. Morales’ injury, with extra money, will end soon: Tuesday night, after losing to Phoenix, the Lakers were eliminated in the postseason.

Mr Westbrook joined the Lakers last July, after a stint at the Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards after he was injured and injured in a Covid case, in a blockbuster commercial that brought him to a group where he grew up worshiping idols.

Although his actions this season made him a target for angry fans, much of Mr. Westbrook outside the court seems to be doing well. There’s a new showtime film Showtime, History Channel notes, a recent art book, costumes with new collections, as well as educational backgrounds and public participation that challenge its outrageous appearance.

All of this should come as no surprise to many who follow his work or engage in it. “He knows how to be a star,” she said Simon Doonanwho served for 30 years as director of Barneys New York.

Mr. Doonan, now a TV judge “Making It,” calls the old collections a Mr.

But even though Mr. Westbrook’s life outside the courtroom is full of success, his basketball season has been so difficult that the faithful villagers turned to Los Angeles natives – so much so that his wife recently wrote in a tweet that the family was sent “death wishes. ” Former Laker boss Shaquille O’Neal advised him to step down, and he was put on a bench and traded on a trade deal.

Mr Westbrook responds to Westbrick’s criticism; Speaking to reporters after Pelicans’ death, he said, “I have three beautiful children in my home, my wife, and I am not going to take them home.”

But a few days later, in an interview with the game, he changed his mind, saying that the insults came to him, about things more important than basketball, a revelation that was similar to the Showtime movie, “Passion Play,” as he did. is introspective in a way that may remain unfamiliar among professional athletes. “The way I compete with them has made me an easy target,” he says in the film, almost as if there were two Russell’s. “In sports, I’m a bad person. People do not really understand who I am. I would be lying to say that it did not affect me.

Born in Long Beach, Calif., Mr. Westbrook grew up in Hawthorne, near South Central Los Angeles, attended Lawndale High School, and spent two years in Westwood at the University of California, Los Angeles. She joined the NBA in 2008 and was immediately known for her fiery sports and fashion.

In the 1970s, New York Knicks star Walt “Clyde” Frazier introduced athletic shoes, mink coats, Zorro hats and hats. Twenty years later, Dennis Rodman raised the bar, one time wearing a wedding dress by signing a book. In the era of socialism, Mr. Westbrook turned the stadium into a sports stadium.

Being 6-foot-3 means they can buy on the rack, but they often do not play well, they like the good-looking appearance or, say, the white kilt at the Thom Browne show in spring 2022 – a bold statement in hyper-macho games.

She has received her role as a strong fashion designer, spending weeks in fashion in New York, Paris and Milan with Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld, Raymond Pettibon and Tim Coppens.

“You do not want to prevent him from going to court. Man, he’s very different, “said Anthony Petrillose, a fellow publisher of Rizzoli New York, who published” Russell Westbrook: Drivers style, “and Mr. Pettibon’s portrait.” how do we do it? ‘”

Honor Gift, the fashion brand of Mr. Westbrook, has made pop-ups in Los Angeles and Paris and released a concert earlier this month called Concrete Jungle. Picking up the summer capsule was an honorable exchange meeting; last fall, it was a halcyon song that also remembers the song of life growing up in Hawthorne.

“Russell takes fashion as seriously as he does as a guard,” said Ms. Wintour, who last saw him in November at Madison Square Garden, where he “generously gave me his athletic shoes. They were too big for me, but fortunately I had 6-4 nephews, who took them happily.”

But the Lakers lost the same night – and Mr. Westbrook looks unhappy at work. Although working with the Nike Jordanian brand on a successful run on his shoes, based on the Honor the Gift design, and the careful construction of their arrival, proper basketball in Los Angeles has been a challenge.

In June last year, Honor the Gift teamed up with Jordan and Mr. Westbrook’s Why Not? Foundation, building a basketball court and supporting technical training and design at the YMCA in Crenshaw District. (Jordan has made Westbrook signature shoes with Why Not? Clothing since 2018.) Nonprofit foundations, cited by the most popular terms, support group events and schools.

“Appearance is a tool and it does not end with clothing,” said Sam Sohaili, who manages DMA United, a manufacturing agency that has worked with Mr. Westbrook on brand marketing. “Russell’s character is the way he treats people.”

Such interactions support the two Russell’s theory: enjoy the plot, and then play differently. (Despite repeated efforts, Mr. Westbrook declined to comment.

Playing in Los Angeles also means Hollywood. “Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre,” he co-produced, started last May and work is expanding.

And when he appears to be a celebrity entering the fray, he crosses over. During a very difficult game in December, a few days after entering the NBA defense due to a good coronavirus test at the club’s party, and then pretending not to have a Covid, Westbrook wore a Santa hat and a stylish tracksuit, photographed and delivered everything. No? new shoes for students.

“Sometimes what matters most is not what you get paid for,” said Compton DJ Quik of the Lakers before being cracked by the crosstown Clippers in March.

Just south of Arena, at Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, one of the first things you see is a 50-foot-tall photo booth you know — who painted Gloria Ramos Cafeteria. Across the campus, at the Thompson Gymnasium, a well-known name and jersey number sits at the top of the court as Mr. Westbrook led the Olympians to a 25-4 record as a senior back in 2006.

“It was inevitable to go to the NBA,” recalled Patrick Cleveland, a high school student who lived on the street from Mr. Westbrook and now teaches and works as a security guard here.

We talked as time went on and the Lakers decided not to join Mr. Westbrook. At Lawndale he was still the prince of the city who came in earnest, he did well and settled down.

Understanding these two Russell’s means of understanding the tragedy what if, said Marlon Mendez, a former head coach and current director of athletics at the school. What if Mr. Westbrook’s close friends of Khelcey Barrs did not fall after a series of recorded games at Los Angeles Southwest College on May 11, 2004?

Khelcey was a 6-foot-6 sophomore going to the NBA, until a heart attack ended all at 16. “We all had a chip on our shoulder, but Russell took it,” said Mr Cleveland. “Everyone thinks he’s a great man. People do not understand what they are playing. We were both disappointed, but he was the one who kept the name going. I am grateful that Russell was able to accomplish it and to bear that name. ”

After his death, Mr. Westbrook would cross the street and do Khelcey’s housework before going to school. Today, he wears laces and shoes starting at KB3, Leuzinger’s basketball is sponsored by Jordan and a star who once lived in high school.

“I grew up around her,” she says Amire Jones, 16-year-old and a Compton guard. “School, sports, Jordan events. It’s crazy because an NBA player went to your school and he’s the person I can reach.”

It is not uncommon for Mr. Westbrook to fall, said Mr. Jones, the son of Leuzinger coach Arturo Jones, one of the many actors Mr. Westbrook is still leaning over. “His legacy gives us a chance. He’s uplifting. One time when I was talking to him, and I needed a shot, he pulled me aside. He said: ‘Be confident, don’t give up. You missed 20, keep shooting.'”

What about Mr. Westbrook’s confidence? Mabos?

“There’s a lot of nonsense around him for no reason,” Jones said. “She is OK. He does not care. It’s Russia. ”

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