REDIRECT::Michael Jordan on Russell Westbrook: ’30 years ago, that’s me.’
Back in July, Michael Jordan unveiled the Jordan XXXIs in Las Vegas, and during the ceremony, acknowledged a passing of the torches of sorts with the shoe's primary endorser: Russell Westbrook.
Complex Sports' Russ Bengston was on hand for the unveiling, and Friday, he published some quotes Jordan dropped during the unveiling that ring a lot louder after Westbrook resigned with the franchise on Thursday.
In short, Jordan expressed his admiration for the Thunder guard, and for the first time ever, personally compared himself to Westbrook.
“Thirty years ago, that's me,” Jordan said. “The attitude, trying to prove myself. Showing so much passion for the game of basketball. You see it in his play. You can tell he loves the game. He plays with energy and flair.”
Bengston notes that Westbrook was taken aback and honored by Jordan's comments.
“That's crazy,” Westbrook after hearing Jordan's comments. “I really don't know what to say. To have the best player who ever played the game to say that about you as a player and as a person is something is going to keep me striving.”
Again, in light of Westbrook's decision to resign, Jordan's words ring strongly, particularly with the subsection of NBA fans who subscribe to the “BUILT NOT BOUGHT” ethos of NBA championship chasing.
While Kevin Durant has parted way for Holden State, Westbrook is at least willing to tread water in OKC for now. And it can't be considered out of the realm of possibility to think that Jordan's comments and faith in Westbrook played a hand in his decision to stay with the team.
Which is to say: even as generations come, go and layer atop the past, never underestimate the shadow Michael Jordan casts over the NBA on a day-to-day, ground-floor basis.
Dan is on Twitter. He turned in his homework every day because his mom said Michael Jordan always got his in on time.