On Monday, Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the 2016-2017 season, after becoming just the second player in history to average a triple double (recording a double-digit total in three of the following statistical categories: points, total rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks) for the entire season. During his emotional acceptance speech, the point guard teared up as he thanked God and his family for getting him to where he is today.
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“First and foremost, thank you to the man above,” Westbrook declared upon taking the stage at Pier 36 in New York City. “Without His blessing, without His honor, I wouldn’t be standing here today… I am very, very blessed to be in the position I am today.”
Ever humbled by the situation, Westbrook, who averaged 31.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 10.4 assists per game in one of the most impressive NBA seasons on record, invited some of his teammates who were in attendance at the NBA Awards ceremony to join him onstage.
“These are my brothers… they sacrificed so much for me throughout the year. It was obviously an amazing season for me, but without these guys and the rest of our guys who aren’t here, none of this would be possible,” he said addressing his teammates. “This award is not for me. This award is for all these guys, and I am very, very thankful to have you guys in my corner.”
He proceeded to thank the Oklahoma City Thunder (previously the Seattle Supersonics) organization for drafting him fourth in the 2008 draft even though “no one thought that was a good decision” at the time. He was also effusive in his praise for the countless individuals who have helped him along the way—from his coaches and fans to the trainers, chefs, and support staff that allow him to “go out an compete at a high level every single night.”
Reading off a piece of paper, Westbrook remained calm throughout much of his remarks, but he was overcome with emotion as be began to speak about his family. After asking the audience to give his parents a round of applause and pausing to collect himself, Westbrook thanked his mom for “keeping our family together” and his parents for “working two jobs” and “getting up at four in the morning” so that he and his brother would have “anything we wanted.”
“Without you guys, I don’t know where I’d be. I can’t be standing here without your support, your sacrifice, everything you guys have done for me,” he said. “I told myself I wasn’t going to cry, but… I can’t say thank you enough.”
Westbrook then spoke of his younger brother, Raynard, who he called his “role model.” He shared that Raynard texts him “every single game at halftime” not because he has to but because he “has a kind heart and looks out for me.”
“To my little brother, my road dog, you mean so much to me… I look up to you… You are a blessing to me,” he said. “I am so happy to have you as my brother. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world… I appreciate everything you do for me, everything.”
In closing, Westbrook focused on his “beautiful wife,” Nina, who he met in college and married in 2015. The two welcomed their first child, a son named Noah Russell Westbrook, in May.
“Lastly, my beautiful wife… I can’t put it in words how thankful I am to have you in my life,” he concluded. “You blessed me with a beautiful son that I am so thankful for. You continue to make me go. Regardless of a good or bad game, every time I see your smile it brightens me up, and I just want to say I love you.”
H/T: CBS Sports