Don't let the peach fuzz fool you. As he showed (again) in the All-Star Game, the 6'3" Thunder guard can stand out among—and soar above—the NBA's best.
DAN PATRICK:Did you realize you had 27 points in the first half of the All-Star Game?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: It happened so quickly. I was getting layups. Made a few lucky threes here and there.
DP:You wound up with 41 and banged your head on the backboard.
RW: Sometimes I jump a little higher.
DP:Have you ever hit your head on the rim?
RW: No, I haven't jumped that high.
DP:You were drafted by Seattle. Did you get a SuperSonics jersey?
RW: The day of the draft I flew to Seattle. I took a picture with a SuperSonics jersey. Then two days later I was in Oklahoma City.
DP:You and Kevin Durant need to pose in your Sonics jerseys.
RW:[Laughs.] I don't even know where it is.
DP:What do you think of the new Kevin Durant? He's got some opinions now.
RW: Kevin is his own man. He's super, super positive and a very unselfish guy. He's just going on how he feels right now.
DP:Do you think the media went out of their way to look for tension between you and Durant?
RW: I'm not sure. But Kevin and I always became closer and closer no matter what was made up about us. Like brothers. [We] got through everything that was thrown our way.
DP:Does part of you want to leave OKC like James Harden did? To lead your own team?
RW: Not at all. Kevin's one of the best players in the world. Over the past four or five years only [the Spurs] have won more games than us. I don't think it gets too much better than that. You can be on your own and win a few games and then go home in the summer. I'd rather have a chance to win the championship every year.
DP:Where is your All-Star Game MVP award?
RW: In my house.
DP:If I walk into your house, how long until I find it?
RW: First, I don't know if you're going to walk into my house.
DP:Let's say you're there and you escort me in.
RW: Oh, it may take you a minute. I put it upstairs in the trophy room.
DP:What does Durant have in his man cave that you don't?
RW: I don't know if Kevin wants me to tell you.
DP:You got his back. That's a good teammate.
DP:Can you grow a beard like James Harden?
RW: No way. I've been growing out my facial hair for 26 years. This is what I got.
RW: Never had to shave one day in my life.
Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay told me that Alex Rodriguez was doomed in New York. "Alex's worst crime was the guy to his left," Kay said. "If he had won five World Series, Derek [Jeter] would have won nine....The worst thing that happened to Rodriguez was that the trade to the Red Sox [in 2003] didn't go through." ... George Karl, who took over the Kings on Feb. 17, explained why he got fired by the Nuggets in 2013 despite being named Coach of the Year: "The posse is always forming against you. Being in one city for nine years, the posse got bigger and bigger. And they felt excellence in the regular season wasn't good enough." ... Denny Hamlin admitted he dislikes almost as many NASCAR drivers as he likes, starting with rival Brad Keselowski. I asked Hamlin if anyone likes Keselowski. "His parents," he said. "Probably."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
GREG NELSON FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (WESTBROOK)
PORTER BINKS (KAY)
RICH PEDRONCELLI/AP (KARL)
TERRY RENNA/AP (HAMLIN)