Russell Westbrook Fills The Stat Sheet With 60 In Dedication To Nipsey Hussle
Last night (April 2), Russell Westbrook mourned the death of his friend Nipsey Hussle the best way that he knows how, with a historic performance on the basketball court. The 30-year-old Point Guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder finished his team’s defeat of the Los Angeles Lakers with a stat line that included 20 points, 20 assists, and 20 rebounds. Westbrook is only the second player since late Hall Of Famer Wilt Chamberlain to achieve the 20-20-20. He finished with 21 assists in the triple-double to be exact. “That’s for Nipsey!” Russell exclaimed after the buzzer during a nationally-televised game.
Westbrook grew up just miles from Nipsey Hussle (born Ermias Davidson Asghedom) in the same Los Angeles. The stars of hoops and Hip-Hop had a public friendship. Ahead of Tuesday’s game, the former UCLA star declined to speak to reporters about Nipsey’s death. He had posted a photo of them on Monday (April 1). However, he made his feelings clear, by wearing a Crenshaw shirt ahead of the game. The merchandise was part of Nipsey’s 2013 mixtape campaign. Many of those popular blue shirts were purchased at The Marathon, a Crenshaw District store that Hussle owned, in a plaza he and a partner had acquired less than two years ago. It was out of front of this store on Sunday afternoon that Hussle was shot three times, including a fatal wound to the head. Two other men were also injured by gunfire, which allegedly stemmed from a verbal dispute with the shooter moments earlier. Hours before the Thunder defeated the Lakers in Oklahoma, the man whom police allege murdered Nipsey Hussle was taken into custody.
After the game, Westbrook had a bit more to say to the public. However, he made it clear that the sum of his incredible stat line was intensely deliberate and personal.“Twenty plus 20 plus 20, they know what that means,” the eight-time NBA all-star told TNT. Nipsey Hussle had publicly pledged his allegiance to the Rollin 60s Crips, a large and historic South Central street organization. However, in lyrics, Nipsey brandished his affiliation as a symbol of pride, self-government and street unity—not one of division or a predatory nature. This week, the rapper had a meeting with Los Angeles Police Commissioner Steven Soboroff and Police Chief Michel Moore planned for the day after his March 31 murder. Both officials have stated that those efforts will continue in Nipsey’s honor. Some, including NPR, have reported that the detained suspect, 29-year-old Eric Holder, was also affiliated with an L.A. street gang.
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Westbrook’s final rebound happened with less than one minute left on the game clock. Grabbing his 20th board made put him in one of the NBA’s most exclusive clubs. Wilt Chamberlain, who died in 1999 delivered 22 points, 21 assists, and 25 rebounds as a member of the 1967-1968 Philadelphia 76ers.
“[Nipsey Hussle was] somebody I looked up to, somebody that paved the way for a guy like myself growing up in the inner city,” Westbrook said after his performance. “To have those conversations with him, I’m just truly saddened by the situation,” the athlete continued. “Just continue to pray for his family.” In an Instagram post after the game, Russell quoted lyrics from “Dedication” (embedded below) with a photo of him wearing the Crenshaw shirt.
While Russell Westbrook’s play raised awareness to the life, efforts, and impact of Hussle, Nipsey’s partner and the mother of his son, Lauren London, mourned publicly for the first time since Sunday afternoon’s murder. She wrote “I’m lost without you” within a touching acknowledgment on social media.
#BonusBeat: Nipsey Hussle’s 2018 Kendrick Lamar collaboration, “Dedication.” The Victory Lap album was named among Ambrosia For Heads‘ top picks for the year.