Thursday, July 9, 2015

It is just another rags to riches story or another only in America story that is true and about a person’s success. Russell Westbrook has made a name for himself through basketball, fashion and most important role model to kids.  He is point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder and is the NBA’s leading scorer for this season.  He has been scoring numbers at games not seen since the days of great basketball players like Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan. The talking heads of sports commentary shows have even gone as far as saying that he is the best player in the NBA right now.

Now most guys with that kind of immediate success run out and buy an expensive sports car or make it rain in strip clubs or celebrate by doing something on the edge. Well, Russell is out there being different by dressing differently. Dennis Rodman was different by always dyeing his hair different color but he seemed to attract negative fame. This guy has a sense for fashion. He dresses differently. He uses all the press following him as free advertising of his clothing style. Last summer he partnered with New York retailer Barney’s to create   Westbrook a menswear line. It is the first time an athlete has collaborated on a project with the fashion industry.   
How nice it is to see a guy embrace the cameras with a smile and a pose rather than punching a camera man in the face. His off the court style has him in a league of his own. He doesn’t want to dress like anyone else. Wearing thousand dollar shirts and hanging out with the fashion elite is a far cry from his simple childhood. He will admit that his style icon was his Mom who always dressed well.  Growing up he focused on two things, sports and school.  Yes he did not hang out in gangs or parks holding toy guns in the air. He was an honor roll student who in fact struggled on the court. At only Five feet eight inches tall, he couldn’t even dunk a basketball.

What appeared to be an overnight transformation, Westerbrook shot up 5 inches in his senior year of high school to now being six foot three inches tall. Still nothing impressive in terms of height for a professional basketball player but his impressive shooting skills took over and made him succeed. UCLA came calling and after two years with the Bruins, and two NCAA final appearances, he took a chance and entered the NBA draft in 2008. The Seattle Supersonics selected him and an unlikely star was about to be born.  By 2012 he led his team to the NBA finals. Although they lost to the Miami Heat, Westbrook still emerged a winner. The colorful shirts he wore to pre-game press conferences made people take notice of him even more.   

It was like a fashion show but with a sports theme. He is now a designer and has included in his brand a line of eye wear and boxers. At age 26 he is worth an estimated $20 Million dollars. He is not done yet. He is using that money to now put towards causes he believes in. He wanted to find a way to make reading fun so through his foundation, he has opened reading rooms at elementary schools in Oklahoma City.  From hoops to high fashion to reading and his recent engagement he is getting only rewards from life. He promises to never forget his humble beginnings. 

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