Rockets star Russell Westbrook on return to Oklahoma City: 'I don't regret one thing'
Westbrook returned to Oklahoma City for the first time since being traded to Houston over the offseason
Houston Rockets star guard Russell Westbrook was back in Oklahoma City on Thursday night, but for the first time in his career, it was as a visitor. Westbrook and the Rockets squared off against the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena for the first time since the blockbuster trade that sent Westbrook to Houston in exchange for Chris Paul over the offseason, and though the Thunder thoroughly dominated the Rockets and walked away with a 113-92 win, the night was an extremely special one for Westbrook.
The eight-time All-Star was on the receiving end of loud ovations and "MVP" chants, and he also got the tribute video treatment from the Thunder organization. It's safe to say that Westbrook, a player known for wearing his emotion on his sleeve, was touched by the outpouring of support.
"Man, some things you can't put into words, just because I've been here so long, so many great memories, great people," Westbrook said after the game, via ESPN. "Obviously, the best fans in the world, because they come with it, and tonight they came with it. The organization, Sam [Presti], Mr. [Clay] Bennett, they do an amazing job of just making you feel home. And I felt like I was home."
The tribute video, specifically, hit home with Westbrook, as the Thunder are not typically a sentimental organization.
"It's special. It's a very, very special thing that meant a lot to me honestly," Westbrook said of the tribute. "Coming back here, just making me feel like I was very, very appreciated, and I appreciated it a lot."
When it comes to his 11-season stint with the Thunder, which included numerous All-Star and All-NBA selections, an MVP award and a trip to the NBA Finals in 2012, Westbrook has no regrets.
"I don't regret one thing being here in Oklahoma City," Westbrook said. "I don't regret signing back. I don't regret staying here. I don't regret anything that I did here. I feel like I left everything out on the floor every single night and did what I could for the city... The fans here, the people, they never did me wrong. I have no bad blood here in the city from [any] fans, nobody in the organization because they gave me all they had and I gave them all I had."
Rockets All-Star guard James Harden spent the first three years of his career as Westbrook's teammate in Oklahoma City, so he is very familiar with the Thunder fan base and their passion. But even still, he was extremely impressed with the love that the fans showed to the man affectionately referred to as "Brodie."
"That was dope. Obviously, we got smacked, but it was a dope environment," Harden said. "Oklahoma City, as usual, showed mad love to Russell and everything he's done for those 11 years he was here. Obviously, an unbelievable fan base, and it was just a beautiful thing to see."
After spending over a decade together, it's clear that there is a very strong bond between Westbrook and the fans of Oklahoma City, and that bond was on full display on Thursday night, despite the fact that Westbrook was wearing a different jersey.
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