"Forget the shooting, I need to see that Mamba Mentality" – Kendrick Perkins wants to see the Russell Westbrook of old, says he always responds to adversity

Kendrick Perkins wants to see Russell Westbrook display his Mamba Mentality.
Kendrick Perkins wants to see Russell Westbrook display his Mamba Mentality.
Akhil Khatri

Russell Westbrook’s former teammate, Kendrick Perkins, had words of encouragement for him on ESPN’s "First Take."

Perkins brought to light Westbrook’s history of responding to adversity, urging him to be the superstar he has been in the past. Westbrook has performed poorly in his first season for the LA Lakers, finding it difficult to make even a jump shot.


Westbrook has played 45 games, averaging 18.5 points, 8 rebounds and 7.8 assists. Although the numbers don’t look bad, he’s had trouble keeping the ball safe – leading the league with 188 turnovers. As a result, Westbrook saw a lot less time in the fourth quarter.

Perkins misses the old Russ, saying:

“Anytime Russell Westbrook had a bad game and Russell Westbrook listened to us, to 'First Take' – he is everything that’s being said about him. And we all know that he always responds, whether it’s a guy talking noise to him – the next day he say, ‘I’m gonna go out there and bust his you know what;' and all of a sudden he go out there and give them their worth. I don’t see that same Russ.”

Westbrook and Perkins were teammates with the OKC Thunder for almost five seasons. Perkins knows better than most the kind of player Westbrook is and how he responds to adversity.

Analyst Stephen A. Smith then gave his opinion on Westbrook, including his success off the court, saying:

“He’s very philanthropic, and his soul is in the right place. The problem with that is that he doesn’t separate it from the game – once the outcome is over. In other words, you lose a game – SO?”
This angle of Russell Westbrook's POSTER on Rudy Gobert 😱🎥 IG/@_michaelmorales10

Smith said there was no lack of effort from Westbrook but feels his response to losing a game is not the same.

Smith also said:

“But the problem is, in my humble opinion – watching Russell Westbrook throughout recent years, the attitude is – I’m gonna give all I got during the game, but if the outcome ain’t what I want it to be, I’m still good. Because guess what, I’m happy – you know, I’m happier than champions. People who have won championships, I’m happier than they are. You can’t be a Laker and feel that way.”

The Lakers are one of the NBA's most storied franchises, owing to all the legends who donned purple and gold. So when someone plays for that franchise, the expectations are always high. All the Lakers legends played with the hunger of winning a title and strived for greatness.

Kendrick Perkins said he believes Westbrook still has it in him, saying:

“If I’m on here, Stephen A., if you on here saying things about Russell Westbrook – that’s because we expect more and we know that he could give more. I just wanna see the Russ of old. Forget the shooting, I need to see that Mamba Mentality.”
Rob Pelinka talks about how Kobe praised Russell Westbrook during his MVP season and felt that Russ embodied the Mamba Mentality. 💜💛(📽️: @ArashMarkazi)

Westbrook, being from Los Angeles, was ecstatic when he was traded to the franchise. Although his performance has not been up to the high standards the Lakers organization expects, Russ can change that with a few fixes to his game. He can start off with emulating the “Mamba Mentality” in the home of the late Kobe Bryant.

Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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