“Nothing’s perfect, the world’s not perfect. But it’s there for us, trying the best it can; that’s what makes it so damn beautiful.”
― Hiromu Arakawa, Fullmetal Alchemist, Volume 1
There is something extremely beautiful in watching someone express themselves with no fear of displaying their flaws for the world to see and having the ability to live with being criticized by the world. To be put out in front of the world to be humiliated and have his decision making and play dismantled second by second.
We live every day caring what others think of us and making decisions on others opinions. What clothes we wear, how we speak, what music we listen to, every single decision shaped by what we think others will think of us and our decision making. It’s what makes Russell Westbrook genuinely extraordinary to watch because he doesn’t care what you think. Don’t believe me? Watch what the man wears when he is walking into every arena he is playing in.
“They were great men, with huge flaws, and you know what – those flaws almost made them greater.”
― Jack Thorne, Harry Potter, and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two
It’s extraordinary to see an athlete of Westbrook’s caliber deal with his flaws every night in front of the world just like yourself, and I do every day in our day to day lives. The difference between Westbrook and you is there will be dozens of TV shows and hundreds of podcast ready to tear him apart play by play and then lay expectations at his feet to see if they can watch him fail. Could you imagine what that would be like? Every day every wrong decision you make scrutinized and then when you go to bed at night there are people talking about everything you did wrong and how you are going to do it again tomorrow. Also, you will never succeed, and everyone around you would have a better life if they left your life because they can’t succeed with you in theirs.
Russell Westbrook has made some crucial errors in games I am not saying he is this person who is void of criticism or responsibility for his mistakes in judgment I am just saying look in the mirror because you might see a piece of Westbrook in you.
“We are flawed creatures, all of us. Some of us think that means we should fix our flaws. But get rid of my flaws and there would be no one left.”
― Sarah Vowell, Take the Cannoli
So why does Westbrook attract so much criticism? Is it because of his battles with the media? Is it his aggressive play style with his demonstrative actions and taunts aimed at opposition and their fans? Possibly its all of the above. Maybe its because Westbrook is a reflection of the fan/interested viewer who watches every game so desperately want him to be this perfect and flawless player/athlete. Who makes the right pass at the right time makes the right decision between when to shoot and when not to or when he decides to jump the passing lane when on defense trying to emulate Dion Sanders intercepting a wide receiver.
Even though sometimes it is tough to believe that Westbrook is human the truth is he is. Westbrook has always had to fight and claw his way every step of the way throughout his rise to the NBA and beyond. Westbrook will make errors and bad judgment calls but trying to make other peoples flaws and mistakes Westbrook’s is going too far. How is it Westbrook’s fault that Paul George goes missing for stretches of games or that like everyone the day has come when father time has tapped Carmelo Anthony on the shoulder and is quickly taking everything away from him that has made him so special.
I believe in Westbrook because to believe in Westbrook is to believe in yourself, Westbrook is me Westbrook is you a flawed individual that has an absolute belief in himself and his abilities, a man that has a goal and will do whatever it takes to achieve his goals. Westbrook is flawed but in his flaws is his beauty and his greatness the ability to shoot 0-of-6 from three-point range but hit the game-winning three-point buzzer beater because Why Not? The ability to believe in himself no matter what no matter has happened in the last 47 minutes and 59 seconds because all that matters is the present and at that moment Westbrook believes in himself with all his flaws.
I would like to believe there is a little bit of Westbrook in all of us. The ability to believe in yourself no matter your flaws believe in yourself and let the outcome be what it is meant to believe as long as you give it your all and if work hard let the chips land where they shall land.