Seven years ago, some friends and I stopped by the Hard Rock Casino outside of Tulsa on our way home to Little Rock, Arkansas. We arrived at the casino early, around noon, to play Texas Hold’em Poker for a few hours before heading home. I am not a big gambler, partially because I have never won anything; I like to keep my money. Since my friends were all playing, I bought in for a hundred dollars worth of poker chips. I was at the counter getting my small stack of chips, the lady behind the counter handed me a tray, which looked like an empty Oreo cookie container with one row full of poker chips. I took the tray and turned around and right behind me was nothing but abs. Looking up I noticed it was none other than Russell Westbrook, the star of the Oklahoma City Thunder at the time.
He looked like he was chiseled out of wood, he without a doubt, was the most ripped human I have ever seen and he looked like he had just come from the gym. He was wearing an Under Armor workout shirt and basketball shorts. I was kind of in shock, so I just asked, “Man, are you Russell Westbrook?” He said, “Yea.” “Your Awesome.” I responded, he glanced at me sideways briefly, “Appreciate it.” he said, as he approached the counter to get his chips. I practically ran to my group of friends and told them that I just met Westbrook himself, they did not believe me. Then Westbrook and his entourage of three friends sat down at our table. My friends’ jaws just dropped out of their mouths.
We were playing poker with Russell Freakin’ Westbrook.
The first thing I noticed when Russ sat down with his friends was that their entire trays were full of poker chips, they each had at least ten grand a piece they were playing with. I only had $100 US; I had never felt so poor in my life. Still to this day, being around someone who probably has 100 million US dollars in the bank, just casually playing poker with more money than I had in the bank, and giving that same amount to his friends to have a good time with, like they are at Chuck E. Cheese Pizza getting their tokens.
Russell and I are living in a different world.
My friends introduced themselves to the Great Westbrook and he casually nodded, politely, I thought this guy has to deal with so many people, in a lot of ways it has to be very frustrating, people all in your face, all the time. My friend had an Arkansas Razorback shirt and Russell said, “Go Hogs” so that made me like him even more, until we played our first hand of cards and Russell splashed the pot with five hundred dollars worth of chips…Pre-Flop! “This guy is an ass-hole.” I thought. Russell Westbrook is an Ass-hole. He’s a bully on the basketball court and he is just as aggressive sitting down at the poker table. He was forcing almost everyone at the table to go all in on each hand.
I folded thinking, “Man he must have had some good cards to bet that much pre-flop, without even seeing the cards. Maybe I will play next hand?” But no, he splashed the pot in the middle of the table on every hand of cards, forcing anyone who wanted to play to basically go all in. I was not getting any good cards so I kept folding, I think the small and big blinds were 3 and 6 dollars, so not that much, but I noticed my small stack of chips diminishing rather quickly. My friends called him, several times and Russell won, taking all their money, and I watched them go back to the ATM again and again. They probably lost over a thousand dollars to Westbrook.
I should have walked away!
Once the word that Russell Westbrook was in the Hard Rock Casino all of the waitresses in their Daisy Duke, whore uniforms came running over to him, “Is there anything you need Mr. Westbrook?” Each of them would ask, basically just throwing their panties at him and his cold reply each time was the same, “Oreo’s“, Russell Westbrook loves Oreo Cookies, he ate several packages of them while playing poker. With all of the running he does, he can burn off all those calories no problem.
I should have gotten up and left the table but I was in the presence of Russell Westbrook! As much as I wanted to, I could not make myself leave the table. I wanted to beat him in one hand of poker, so I just waited, folding each time and only betting the blinds when they came around. Until, after about forty five minutes, I got the best hand of cards I had been dealt all afternoon, but they were not great cards, I think it was like Jack/Queen. Once again, Russell splashed the pot five hundred dollars pre-flop, so when I finally called and bet, it put me all in. Not a Jack or a Queen showed up on the flop or the river, so just like that, I had lost one hundred dollars in less than an hour to Russell Westbrook.
I am still kinda pissed off about it, just like I am still pissed off that the Rockets kicked the Lakers ass in Game 1 of the 2020 Corona Playoffs. I am tight with money, so I got up from the table and took a seat close-by in the lobby and helped myself to the complimentary peanuts. My friends continued to play and lose to Russell Westbrook for several hours, I would wave to them and say, “What’s up?” As they would walk by me each time to the ATM to get more cash because Westbrook had just taken all their money, again, and again.
Russell Westbrook is a bully!
Westbrook is an aggressive bully, I found that out at the poker table seven years ago, the LA Lakers found it out the other day when Westbrook attacked the rim over and over, several times the Lakers big men would attempt to block his lay-up but he is just too fast, and when they finally tipped the ball, the referees would call “Goal-tend” because the ball would touch the backboard before they could get their hands on the ball. Westbrook does not just want to win, he wants to dominate and destroy you, he will not stop, he is going to continue to attack. If the Lakers want to win this series they are going to have to man up, and basically beat up the Rockets, hammer him every time he drives into the paint, the same with James Harden, the Lakers cannot let them twist their way into the lane for lay-ups all game.
I was shocked to see the Lakers get man handled, I was not expecting Anthony Davis to get pushed out of the paint by James Harden. The Rockets as a team, collapsed into the paint, pushed the Lakers out of the paint and forced them to shoot threes, which is a great defensive game plan because the Lakers cannot shoot threes. I have been saying it all season that AD needs a hook shot, not a jump shot and I was proven right the other night. The Lakers need Ron “Metta World Peace” Artest to come off the bench and elbow the crap out of Westbrook and Harden.
The sad part is, the Lakers do not have a Ron Artest on the bench any more, but they do have a Dwight Howard. Dwight is the X Factor for the Lakers, which scares me as a Lakers fan because Kobe even said, “He was soft“. The Lakers need Howard to channel his inner Ron Artest. AD is not strong and he does not have a post game, Howard with all those years being coached by Patrick Ewing has a decent baby hook shot in the paint. The Lakers have to play to their strengths and it is not letting Rondo brick open threes.
It is old school pound the ball into the paint.
If the Lakers play traditional playoff basketball and play to their strengths which is pound the ball into the paint, most of their shot attempts should be inside the paint, the Lakers should win. However, if the Lakers get caught up in trying to play small ball with the Rockets they will lose this series. The Lakers seem to mimic, their opponents style of play, instead of imposing their will onto the other team they allow the other team to dictate the momentum and style of the game. I hope to see the Lakers crash the boards big time in Game 2 tonight and they are going to have to hit Westbrook and Harden when they get into the paint. Make them pay for thinking they can enter the big man’s domain, and I do not know if AD or Howard has it in them to beat up players like Shaq or Bill Lambeer.
One thing is for sure and that is Russell Westbrook is not going to stop attacking, we will all see tonight if the Lakers can make a stand. -kg