The Many Stages of Russell Westbrook Fandom →

Brian Phillips for The Ringer:

Being a Russell Westbrook fan is the emotional equivalent of playing basketball like Russell Westbrook—it’s spectacularly difficult, it takes willpower and imagination, it hurts, and if you’re not actually doing it, you probably can’t understand why anyone would try. When you are doing it, though, it seems to … not make sense, exactly, but reflect a kind of higher logic, detached from the utilitarian logic of the game. Westbrook is one of the most frustrating players in the NBA, and quite possibly one of the most frustrating human beings in the universe, but for the true Westbrook fan, his shortcomings are merely the obstacles against which our greatness must test itself—the 10-foot rims and help defenses of the spirit.

This is such a great read. I can’t think of any other player at Russ’s level whose play is as controversial as his.