Russell Westbrook appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Ahead of the show, Noah was telling a friend about all the things Westbrook does off the court (some of which are discussed in the interview) and the friend said, "Wow, I thought Russell Westbrook was an asshole." Noah shared this story with Westbrook who found it very funny and very familiar, saying, "every day is a challenge."
"It’s crazy you mention that. I get that every day. Honestly, that's the biggest challenge of my life and you know it’s crazy. It’s honestly the biggest challenge of my life because I play the game with so much passion and aggression. I want to do great. I want to be the best in the game, but at the same time, I want to be the best off the floor and helping as many people as possible and being impactful."
"I don't want to just talk about it and say, "Oh, doing this, doing that," but I want to be the one to change our world in many directions. As we’ve talked about finances and education, mental health, workforce development. I want to put my hands in everything. There’s nothing that I feel like I can’t do. That's the Why Not? mentality comes from. "
"Every day is a challenge, man, for me to be able to change that narrative. But listen. Hey guys, I’m a human being. I’m normal. I want to help. I want to do the right thing and you know, to me, my main job, Trevor, honestly is just to make sure that I stay humble and understanding."
Honestly, I had a similar thought to Noah's friend while I was watching the interview. As Westbrook smiled and laughed and talked about his family and his Why Not? Foundation and the documentary he's producing on the Tulsa race massacre, I thought about how we generally don't see that side of Westbrook.
We see the clothes and shot selection and the curt postgame interactions, but there is so much more awesome stuff when we actually get to hear from him away from the game. For Westbrook it's a daily struggle to remind people he's more than the memeable basketball player, but as long as he's affecting people's lives in such a positive way, none of that other stuff really matters. Maybe as his basketball career slows down we'll focus more on this part of his personality.