0.nly Up From Here

By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver Jr)

We’ve all heard the media. It’s really been a lack thereof. We’ve heard more from those on social media in support of Russell Westbrook. The coverage of the NBA product has been bias and directed. It’s been horrible to say the least. Maybe we can turn the page from this moment. Maybe it’s only up from here.

We watched a man go from being Mr. Triple Double, to being a 3rd option, to being a sixth man that was forced to be a defensive threat. Men grow. Men adjust. Men find a way to carry on through tough times in order to find another place that will allow them to flourish again. We seen that yesterday with Russ. We seen his outburst of 36 points, 10 assists, and a perfect 5/5 from 3. It was as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. It was being apart of the team that’s down the hall. It was with a coach that knew that next man up was Russ. No other point guards in front of him. No muzzle on the dog. If you let him loose, he can produce. Simply.

Ask yourself: “Do I want Russ to be a marginalized player even when my top 2 options are out? Or should I let him run amuck and do what he does that often leads to another check in the win column, historically?” Long winded question. Shouldn’t be a question then. The answer is evident. MVP. Finalist. Mr. Triple Double. You let him eat.

We currently sustain an NBA culture that is focused on flaws. Not only on the basketball court. Many media members dissect how someone talks, what they say, how they react, and they also generate their own perspectives into actual law. This isn’t the NBA from the 90s or 2000s that focused on highlighting the players and propelling the game because of them. This is about wanting to see many of them fall from grace so many that cover the game can have something to talk about day in and day out. Lazy coverage. That’s my only guess.

Russ is a husband, a father, and a true professional. He leaves his all on the court every single night. Don’t need him to run? Ok. He’ll pass and warm the corner. Need him to cover for the players that are out? It’s Russ time. He’s still Russ. There’s no way that there are players in the league operating at high levels beyond whatever age that people covering the game think the players fall off. Everything has changed. So why hasn’t that mental belief of exiting one’s prime changed? We’ve become better as a people across the board. Especially if one actually seeks longevity. This isn’t the 70s and 80s with garbage shoes, nutrition, and medicine. This isn’t having a summer job besides being in the NBA. So this all points to something different. What is it?

Fishing for clicks. Fishing for likes. Big media surfing around to take from little media. It’s a big reason why I’ve even gone quiet. You can’t steal my thoughts if I never express them. Meanwhile, big media doesn’t only create their own narratives, they create dialogue and narrative based on things from social media. It’s just about putting a spin on it.

Now here we are. Playoffs on the horizon. Many are asking rather this is sustainable with Russ. Hopefully Kawhi, right? God bless whatever family issue he’s having. Sincerely. We forget that element entirely. Let’s imagine Russ goes in alone with this team. What will it be? Russ got it done in round 1? Russ didn’t get it done in round 1? Russ can’t run a team? Although, he was a deadline acquisition. No way that we expect there to be a gameplay effective enough to beat a juggernaut without your stars. They will be quick to blame someone. They’ve been blaming the lack of Kawhi. Suddenly, it’ll be Russ. I haven’t forgot the OKC days with Paul George being injured. How many shots did Russ take? It was Mamba mentality. Don’t go out without swinging. Do we not honor heart and dedication in the NBA anymore? Ok.

Furthermore, the Clippers look to be in good hands if Ty Lue learned anything from that win over the Grizzlies with Russell Westbrook at the helm. It could very well be exactly what needed to happen. Could bode well as a playoff adjustment. Could be a mini junior death lineup. Russ with runners and shooters. It could be something that doesn’t work at all. At the end of the day, it can’t be that a player quit on his team. Russell Westbrook doesn’t hang it up on his teams. So it can very well be only up from here.

Good luck Clippers. May you be gifted good health and perseverance. For those uneducated, go look up exactly how many records Russ broke while playing against the Grizzlies. The big media never took time to mention it. That’s something that needs to change. It’s time to celebrate everyone in this game.

I love this game. – Michael Tolliver Jr


2 thoughts on “0.nly Up From Here

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