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What could be the meaning behind Russell Westbrook’s decision to wear a Willie Beamen (of Any Given Sunday fame) jersey when entering Chesapeake Energy Arena prior to the start of the game marking Kevin Durant’s return to Oklahoma City?
With the Golden State Warriors taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder at OKC for the first time this season, the hype for KD’s return to the city he so controversially left last summer has been naturally high.
It’s been well-documented since Durant’s exit and Westbrook’s extension with the Thunder that the relationship between the two has become toxic, so, naturally, anything and everything that could possibly be viewed as a shade-throwing act involving them comes with much speculation.
Considering that Westbrook is the main reason why there’s that trend now in which NBA players have cameras fixated on them as they walk through the tunnel before a game in order to get a view of their attire (which ESPN recently poked fun at), it’s only appropriate that perhaps the most heavily anticipated pregame tunnel walkthrough was performed by the man himself.
With Westbrook wearing the jersey of the fictitious quarterback played by Jamie Foxx in the 1999 movie Any Given Sunday, there are a number of possibilities regarding the meaning behind it.
- Willie Beamen was a great player but really self-centered, and he ended up bolting the team that took a chance on him for greener pastures at the end of the film. Needless to say, that’s reminiscent of KD.
- Beamen was often underappreciated and taken for granted by his team throughout the movie. In the end, he proved to be a true leader and the best player on the team. So Westbrook could be comparing himself to Beamen in that regard to spite Durant.
- In addition to Possibility #1, Russ could also be poking fun at KD’s new team, as the Warriors went 1-3 to end the most recent NBA Finals and lose. That would tie in with Beamen’s #13 jersey.
- In addition to Possibility #2, Russ could also be referencing the Thunder’s collapse after being up 3-1 in last season’s Western Conference Finals. If that were the case, he could be implying that the now-departed Durant is the one to blame for the collapse.
- And, in what is the least controversial but most likely possibility, Westbrook could simply be making yet another meaningless fashion statement.
The world may never know the implicit meaning behind Westbrook’s Willie Beamen jersey (if there actually is one), but at least it makes for an additional chapter in Russ and KD’s ongoing feud. Drama is what fuels the NBA, and, regardless of how petty it sometimes is, drama is what often makes the NBA the world’s most entertaining soap opera.