Bruin fans rejoiced when Russell Westbrook was traded back to his hometown, and now he'll be making his return to campus.
The Los Angeles Lakers point guard was the honorary captain for No. 5 UCLA men's basketball (6-1) for its game against Colorado (6-1, 1-0 Pac-12), the team first announced Wednesday afternoon. Westbrook played for the Bruins from 2006 to 2008 before leaving for the NBA, and he had been part of the program's two most recent Final Four team before the team's run this past March.
This marks the first time of the 2021-2022 season that Westbrook has been in attendance to watch the Bruins take the court.
Westbrook spent the first 11 seasons of his pro career with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but after bouncing around for a few years, he was eventually dealt to the Lakers on Aug. 6. The three-team deal also involved fellow former UCLA guard Aaron Holiday swapping teams, going from the Indiana Pacers to the Washington Wizards.
Across his two seasons, Westbrook played 75 games for the Bruins. In his sophomore season, Westbrook averaged 12.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. Westbrook would then go on to get selected with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.
Westbrook is the NBA's all-time leader in triple doubles at 189, and he has made nine All-Star teams with two scoring titles, three assist titles and a Most Valuable Player Award.
For his accomplishments at the college and NBA level, Westbrook was selected to be part of the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in its 2020 class, which was inducted in October.
Within two minutes of the opening tip Wednesday night, the UCLA student section began chanting "We want Westbrook." When Westbrook took the court midway through the first half, the Pauley Pavilion crowd got louder than they had all night while giving him a standing ovation.
Westbrook took part in the t-shirt toss right before halftime as well, jokingly working on his shoulder after tossing a few long shots, eventually returning to his courtside seat.