Russ honored by Oscar's remarks as he nears triple-double record
With Russell Westbrook's latest effort - 15 points, 12 boards, 11 dimes - in the books, the Washington Wizards guard is now just four triple-doubles away from tying the all-time career record of 181 set by the great Hall of Fame point guard Oscar Robertson.
Given that there are nine games left on the Wizards' regular-season slate and Westbrook is currently on a streak of 17 triple-doubles in his past 20 appearances, the question is not a matter of whether he will assume sole possession of the record, but of when.
Not only does Robertson himself believe Westbrook will soon overtake him, but the 32-year-old has evidently earned "The Big O's" blessing.
"I think he will (break the record)," Robertson told Peter Vecsey on the "Hoop Du Jour" podcast earlier this week. "And I'll be glad when he does because he's a tremendous basketball player and athlete.
"I think it's really something that sportswriters started getting on him - said, 'he didn't do this, he didn't win the championship' - and the kid, all he's doing is playing MVP basketball every night."
After being informed of Robertson's compliments following Friday's road win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Westbrook expressed gratitude for the trail the 82-year-old blazed through the NBA from 1960-74.
"It's really an honor, man. It's something that, honestly, I don't take for granted," Westbrook said of Robertson's recognition. "Because Oscar is somebody who did more for the game, played in the era where it was tough being an African American athlete in our game, and he understood and sacrificed so many things to be able to play the game.
"I understand that, and to me, I'm just grateful to be able to be in the conversation ... with my name connected to his."
Westbrook could tally triple-double No. 181 on May 6 versus the Toronto Raptors at the earliest, with an opportunity to then break Robertson's record on May 8 against the Indiana Pacers.