Russell Westbrook: Being Laker still hasn't hit me yet
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Russell Westbrook admits it's surreal to he playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, the team he used to be watching and rooting for while growing up. "Being from L.A., you always wish that you can play for your home team and be able to do that," Westbrook said on Tuesday at his introductory news conference with the Lakers at Staples Center, per ESPN.
"But that's definitely something that always kind of circled around in my mind. And maybe one day. But I would always come back and be like, 'Ahh, that probably won't happen.' "It's surreal. I think it still hasn't hit me yet, being from L.A., growing up not too far from here and being able to watch the parades -- try to go to them, try to miss school to try to go to them.
Being a Laker fan and being from L.A., but now everything coming full circle for me." After only a year spent with the Washington Wizards, Westbrook wanted to get traded to another team. "This stuff happened so quickly, all of this happened so fast, the last two weeks or so," Westbrook said.
"But we've had brief conversations and talked about obviously what we need to do."
The Lakers thrilled to have Westbrook
"I think it was an opportunity to make an aggressive move that we felt bettered our probability to bring the 18th title to the Los Angeles Lakers," said team vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka.
"This was an opportunity to maximize the ability to do what we're obsessed to do and that's to bring an 18th title to this city." Westbrook recalled his talks with Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.. "It hasn't left my head. Things that we talked about -- me and him -- just the potential of me being able to be a Laker, understanding what that entails," he said.
"It's just crazy to think about, and that will be with me every time I put that Laker jersey on." Westbrook is excited about having Lebron James as a teammate. "Bron is one of the best players to play this game, and his ability to be able to kind of do everything on the floor allows me to be able to just figure it out," said Westbrook, who led the league in assists last year.
"I'm coming to a championship-caliber team and my job is to make sure that I'm able to make his game easier for him, and I'll find ways to do that throughout the game."