Russell Westbrook gets standing ovation, stunning tribute video in return to OKC

Jack Baer

For 11 years, Russell Westbrook called Oklahoma City his home as a player. For one more night this season, as a member of the Houston Rockets, the city was home again for the All-Star point guard.

Westbrook received a hero’s welcome in his return to Oklahoma City, nearly six months after the Thunder made the fateful decision to trade him to the Rockets for Chris Paul and a litany of draft picks.

Houston Rockets' Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates after scoring against the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Russell Westbrook had an emotional return to Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The biggest moment came when the Thunder aired one heck of a tribute video honoring its former MVP.

Westbrook’s reception from the Chesapeake Energy Arena crowd was similarly resounding. He received a standing ovation and deafening cheers from the entire arena.

Westbrook will always hold a special place in the hearts of Thunder fans, as the only All-Star to stay with the team until he was pulled away. Kevin Durant left for the Golden State Warriors, and hasn’t exactly endeared himself since. Paul George was great in his two years with the team, then demanded a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers.

As for Westbrook, he stayed until it became clear the Thunder had more use for the draft capital he’d return in a trade, following George’s exit.

He obviously knew the significance of the night coming in, as evidenced by his fashion choice.

Westbrook ended up giving the fans what they wanted, leading all players with 34 points in a losing effort against the Thunder.

The whole production was enough to impress even a losing locker room, as Rockets star James Harden, also a former member of the Thunder, had some very good things to say about OKC after the game.

Westbrook’s return sparks KD Twitter beef

The event of Westbrook’s return also triggered some online clashing between two of his former teammates. Ex-Thunder big man Kendrick Perkins took to Twitter to tease a SportsCenter segment in which he called Westbrook the best player to put on a Thunder uniform.

That predictably triggered some lively debate in Perkins’ replies, and Durant wasn’t going to just let a conversation about him happen without going for some throats.

The two continued to go at it throughout the game, because there is no better way to honor Westbrook’s legacy than to get into internet screaming matches about Westbrook and Durant.

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