Los Angeles Lakers star Russell Westbrook is speaking out against the harassment his family has received, including death threats. The 14-year NBA veteran's wife, Nina Westbrook, took to social media detailing the criticism and threats their family of five have faced.
Speaking to reporters on Monday (March 7), Westbrook went into further detail of what's been happening, sending an emotional message to haters.
"I 100 percent stand behind my wife and how she's feeling," the nine-time NBA All-Star said. "When it comes to basketball, I don't mind the criticism of missing and making shots. But the moment it becomes my name is getting shamed it becomes an issue."
The former league MVP said the situation has caused his family to avoid coming to games. "I don't even want to bring my kids to the game because I don't want them to hear people call their dad nicknames and other names for no reason because he's playing the game he loves."
"I've kind of let it go in the past because it never really bothered me," he continued, "but it really kind of hit me the other day. Me and my wife were at teacher-parent conferences for my son. And the teacher told me, 'Noah, he's so proud of his last name. He writes it everywhere. He writes it on everything. He tells everybody and walks around and says, 'I'm Westbrook...' And I kind of there in shock, and it hit me like, 'Damn, I can no longer allow people to [mess up] my name.'"
"'Westbrick' for example, to me, is now shaming," the 33-year-old said referencing a nickname taunting spectators chant from the sidelines. "It's shaming my name, my legacy for my kids," he said, adding, "the ones that kind of paved the way for me."
Westbrook vowed to address any taunting or shaming behavior he sees, stating that, "I will make sure that I nip that in the bud."
"I'm at a point where I'm going to continue to address it. It's just unfortunate," he said.