On This Day: Russell Westbrook honors Nipsey Hussle
With the NBA, MLB, NHL and other major sports leagues and sporting events suspended or canceled, on a daily basis, we will revisit some of the most unforgettable games and sports moments in history. Welcome to On This Day.
Triple-doubles aren’t anything new to Russell Westbrook.
In fact, Westbrook is second all-time in triple-doubles with 146, only trailing Oscar Robertson’s 181.
In many ways, he has become the face of the statistical feat. He averaged a triple-double for three straight seasons from 2015-2018 and won an MVP award on the back of the accomplishment in 2017.
But even things that have become commonplace can be special from time to time, and that’s exactly what happened when Westbrook recorded 20 points, dished out 21 assists, and grabbed 20 rebounds against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 2, 2019.
🗣️ "THAT'S FOR NIPSEY!"
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) April 3, 2019
The stat line was already ridiculous enough, considering it was the first 20-20-20 game in more than 50 years – but Westbrook didn’t do it in vain.
The former Oklahoma City point guard dedicated the performance to rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was gunned down just two days prior in Los Angeles.
FS1 analyst Nick Wright lauded Westbrook’s special night the following day on First Things First.
“This is, to me, the basketball equivalent of the Babe Ruth calling your shot. No one has ever had a game like this since Wilt.”
Hussle and Westbrook – both Los Angeles natives – were close friends. As a teenager, Hussle joined the Rollin’ 60s, a well-known Los Angeles street gang.
However, as he grew into a global hip hop star, Nipsey became an advocate for peace and entrepreneurship in his Crenshaw community, and was revered within the city.
“20 + 20 + 20 — they know what that means, man.”
Russell Westbrook honored Nipsey Hussle with this incredible stat line last April. 🏁 pic.twitter.com/VoCP1qinih
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) March 31, 2020
Hussle wasn’t just a close friend to Westbrook. He maintained strong relationships with multiple professional athletes.
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was hit hard by Hussle’s untimely death, calling it “one of the most unfortunate events that has happened in American history.”
Former NBA MVP and current Westbrook teammate James Harden, who also shared a close bond with Hussle, spoke about his passing as well.
“He was powerful. Not just to a certain dynamic or certain city, but to the world.”