Russell Westbrook rejects Allen Iverson comparison: I always try to ‘do the best for the betterment of the team’

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook is taking issue with the opinion of an NBA executive who compared him to former Philadelphia 76ers great Allen Iverson.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin looked at Westbrook’s importance to the Lakers’ efforts to win another NBA title and quoted the executive’s opinion questioning the veteran guard’s approach to winning.

“Russ reminds me of Allen Iverson, wanting to win but wanting to win on his terms,” one Eastern Conference executive told ESPN. “If he can take a step back and win in L.A., it will validate everything else he’s done in the league.”

That assertion was a source of aggravation to Westbrook, who insisted that he is a team-first player who is ready to make every effort to win a championship for the Lakers.

“I disagree for multiple reasons,” Westbrook told ESPN. “No. 1, I believe that I am a one-of-a-kind player, and I respect Allen and respect everything he’s done for the game, but I’m not comparable to Allen Iverson by any means. No. 2, is that I’ve been probably — I feel, myself — always trying to fit in to do the best for the betterment of the team. And I’ve always done that in my career, and I’ll continue to do that and whatever happens, happens. If we win a championship, cool. If we don’t, I’m OK with that too and life goes on.”

The criticism of Westbrook is that while he’s developed into a player who’s capable of delivering a triple-double on a nightly basis, he’s yet to be part of a championship team.

During his career, Westbrook has only played in one NBA Finals, losing as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012. In 2019, the Houston Rockets acquired him as they sought to challenge for a championship, but ended up sending him to the Washington Wizards before the start of last season.

The Lakers are the 33-year-old Westbrook’s fourth team in as many seasons. They may offer him his best chance at finally winning a championship ring.

Thus far this season, the Lakers have a record of 13-12. They face some stiff challenges in the Western Conference against teams like the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns.

Westbrook’s next chance to get the Lakers on track toward a deep playoff run comes on Thursday night, when the Lakers face the Memphis Grizzlies in a road matchup.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.