Russell Westbrook is no stranger to criticism. On the contrary, he embraces the haters. This facet about Westbrook’s personality was revealed by Gotham Chopra, director of the new documentary on Westbrook, Passion Play, which debuts on October 15 on Showtime.
Chopra was speaking at the premiere of the documentary where he told members of the press that about six months ago, they showed Westbrook a cut with tons of hating on him. The director felt uncomfortable showing the footage to Westbrook, possibly because of the reaction it would elicit from the player. Quite the opposite happened, with Westbrook telling Chopra:
“I want more of that.”
Passion Play takes an intimate look at what it takes to be Westbrook, a player much maligned because of his spectacular individual records, but without a significant team accolade against his name. “God has given me a special gift,” Westbrook says in the trailer for the documentary. He adds:
“The way I compete, I think I’m an easy target… In the sports world, I am the bad guy… People don’t really understand who I am. I’d be lying and saying it didn’t affect me.”
Westbrook himself is producing the documentary while his brother Raynard Westbrook is a co-producer on Passion Play.
Westbrook off to an indifferent start with the LA Lakers
Westbrook joined the LA Lakers in the offseason. It is his fourth NBA team in as many seasons. Westbrook comes to the Lakers to join superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, where the trio will look to deliver the Lakers an NBA-best 18th championship.
But going by their preseason showing, the Lakers are nowhere close to emulating that ambition. They have lost all four of their preseason games, with their latest defeat coming to the 2021 Western Conference Champions, the Phoenix Suns.
Westbrook himself has been quite ordinary in his first two preseason games. He has tallied 15 turnovers in his twin appearances for the Lakers, with nine of his turnovers coming in the game against the Suns. But as has always been the case with Westbrook, he took full ownership of lackadaisical play.
“The turnover stuff is on me, but good thing they don't count. Turnover it over 15 times. Ain't nothing nobody can do about it. It's all good. It's on me, though...Easy fix, though. Very easy. Just because timing. Just timing. Guys getting used to my speed, my pace, my timing. ... Me just getting my timing back on passing. ... That is definitely on me. Nothing with the offense...Those are all personal errors, timing, and somebody can figure out.”
The Lakers kickstart their 2021-22 regular season campaign on October 19 against the Golden State Warriors at the Staples Center. They play their next preseason game against the same opponents at the same venue on October 12.