Michael Jordan had some praise for Russell Westbrook as he introduced the Thunder guard ahead of his induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
Jordan, the ubiquitous NBA legend and Charlotte Hornets owner, showed appreciation for Westbrook in a brief speech, which can be viewed in full below. Westbrook is a Jordan Brand-sponsored athlete and the face of the company’s marketing efforts in recent years.
He harped on Westbrook’s ‘loyalty’ to Oklahoma City in signing a new contract over the summer and not-so-quietly touched on Kevin Durant’s decision to leave. He also said he is a big fan of Westbrook and saw some of his own competitiveness and love for the game in him.
“Another thing you guys should be proud of is the sense of loyalty this kid has shown, Jordan said. “I’m not here to try and bash anybody that’s not here. Everybody has a choice. I‘m not saying everybody doesn’t have a choice. But when I saw he chose to stay in Oklahoma I was so proud, and as Clay (Bennett) knows and Russ knows, I texted him to show a sense of respect.”
That bit begins at 2:49.
Durant was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame last year, during which he remarked, “hopefully we’ll be here next year for Russell Westbrook’s induction.” Durant, of course, joined the Golden State Warriors as a free agent in the off-season.
Westbrook, in his acceptance speech, discussed his place as an athlete and the strength of the Oklahoma community.