Russell Westbrook is staying in OKC. And in so doing he’s become the hero for the hometown, the same Midwest hometown that just lost KD, Kevin Durant, to the rival Golden State Warriors only one long month ago. So what does this say about Westbrook and his dedication and loyalty to his team and his town? It says a lot. It doesn’t hurt that they’re paying Westbrook a whole heapin’ helping of dough, but he could have gotten paid elsewhere, right?
Loyalty and devotion and dedication are almost dinosaurs in this modern age of me, myself and I. “Lookout for #1” is the theme song for many adolescents (and many adults, too) that have no penchant or proclivity for staying put in a job or a relationship or an obligation over the long haul. And that indictment is especially true of athletes. Team dedication for the duration and long term commitments and contributions for an extended stay are almost a thing of the past.
A strong sense of duty to a core group and a common cause is part of our DNA. We long to be a part of something and to make a difference somewhere and to be connected to someone. And the lack of stability and steadfastness and stick-to-itiveness is a symptom of our bruised and broken, fragmented and segmented society.
So what is the cure for what ails us? What is the prescription and the panacea for our herky, jerky, restless, and borderline reckless world? Statements about concern and allegiance and faithfulness should be earnest and true, and Russell Westbrook gave all of us all that and some as he announced his decision to stay in Oklahoma City for at least two more years.
Westbrook’s press conference speech has quickly become an instant classic. Asked why he agreed to the extension now rather than wait until next season, Westbrook was emphatic:
There’s no need to wait if you know where you want to be.
How thoughtful. How insightful. How profound. And, to take it a step further, I submit this axiom: “If you know where you need to be, and it’s where you want to be, then you’ve really in a good place.” Westbrook went on to say more:
There’s nowhere else I would rather be than Oklahoma City,” Westbrook said at a news conference to announce the deal. “You guys have basically raised me. I’ve been here since I was 18, 19 years old. You guys did nothing but good things for me. Through the good and the bad, you guys supported me through it all, and I appreciate it. Definitely when I had the opportunity to be able to be loyal to you guys, that’s the No. 1 option. Loyalty is something that I stand by.”
Spiritually speaking, our faith in God and our faithfulness to each other are one in the same. Both together, they should endure and last a lifetime. So fealty and fidelity and honesty and sincerity are not things of the past. They are alive and well and we do well to emulate the example that we’re seeing in Russell Westbrook today.