Reggie and Westbrook – from teammates to rivals

“Do I feel like a starter in this league? Why not? I grew up watching Michael Jordan play and adore his greatness, and that’s how you’re remembered. I mean, Playing off the bench was fun too, but I got up at 5 a.m. every morning in high school to shoot, and I would never say I just wanted to be a bench player. I woke up every day with the goal of being the greatest player I could be. .”

In 2013, 23-year-old Reggie Jackson said the above in an interview after a team practice. However, at that time, the starting point guard of the Oklahoma City Thunder was Russell Westbrook, who had become the top star in the league. In contrast, Reggie, who had just secured the sixth man position that season, averaged 13.1 per game. Pointed 3.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists.

From any point of view, Reggie’s statement that he wants to be the Thunder’s starting No. 1 is undoubtedly a nonsense.

Although Reggie never bluntly wanted to replace Westbrook, it was clear that the seeds of conflict between him and Westbrook had been planted since then. Although there was no head-on conflict, the relationship between the two had dropped to a freezing point, and Darnell Mayberry, then a reporter for the Thunder and the team, had the honor to record a conflict that was not a conflict.

After a late game, Mayberry, who works for The Oklahomaman, brought his laptop to the Thunder locker room, hoping to finish his postgame interview before the deadline. So he found an unused locker and sat in a chair ready to start his interview work. However, at this time, Westbrook in the locker room came over and said: “Only the players can sit on the chair.”. Interestingly, when Reggie Jackson saw this, he pushed his chair in front of Mayberry and signaled that he could sit on it.

“For me, at that point in time, Reggie gave me his chair in the locker room, and it was clear there was a conflict between him and Westbrook,” recalls Mayberry, who witnessed the entire event afterward. .

Then came the 2014 playoffs. After three games in the first round, the Thunder, the second seed in the West, temporarily trailed the seventh seed Grizzlies 1-2. However, in the crucial G4, Durant and Westbrook scored only 30 points on 11 of 45 shots. Instead, Reggie, who came off the bench, scored a game-high 32 points and led the Thunder to a three-point victory to tie the total score. However, when it came to the post-match interview, it was still Dewey Second Young Master who showed up at the press conference, and there was no sign of Reggie, the hero of the victory.

“It looks like KD and Russell don’t want him (Reggie) in the limelight,” Darnell Mayberry said.