(Photo provided by TorreyPurvey.com)
By Michael Kinney
Oklahoma City forward Paul George created quite a stir Wednesday when he told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that his decision on free agency was becoming “easier” because of the friendship and bond he has created with Russell Westbrook.
George continued to lavish his teammate with compliments Thursday.
“Being alongside Russ, he is a team-first guy. He’s a really good dude,” George said. “And it’s great to be around guys like that. Not only that, but work hard, extremely hard. Make it easier for me to put the work in. Makes it fun to put the work in. And just somebody you can enjoy this process with. That’s what makes it attractive being here and playing alongside Russ.”
When Westbrook was asked about George’s sentiments, the reigning MVP expounded on why hearing that is important to him.
“Like I said before, many times, around here my job is to make sure I lead. It’s not about basketball. It’s not about what you do on the court. It’s about how you interact with your teammates, being brothers off the floor. That’s the most important thing to me is to gain a relationship with people.”
What created this public bro fest began when Westbrook voiced his displeasure in George not being named to the all-star team. George said that meant a lot to him.
“We were actually joking before he went up there, and I’m like, ‘Nah, Russ, man, just let it go, let it go Russ,” George explained to Nichols. “It is what it is, I wasn’t picked,’ and he was like, ‘Nah, man, P, that’s messed up. I’m gonna tell them something about that. “It was awesome for a teammate to have your back and to stand up… But the fact Russ had my back, that’s my guy forever, and it’s more apparent what this decision needs to be made when it comes down to it.”
Sticking up for his teammates is one of the jobs Westbrook takes seriously as the lead of the Thunder. But that is not the only reason he came to the defense of George, who has only been with the organization a few months.
“Basketball stuff that will come. That’s short term. But brotherhood and friends, stuff like that is lifetime,” Westbrook said. “And for me, I constantly keep trying to find ways to learn different things about people, learn about their families, learn about their struggles. With their journey, everybody has a different outlook on different things. You’re able to create those different relationships by obviously being on the same team and understanding each other.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com