Our MVP - The Real Value
Russell Westbrook is all of my life goals.
When the Oklahoma City Thunder started the 2016/2017 season in October, things looked grim. The Thunder roster seemed utterly different than it did just one season before when eliminated from the Western Conference finals in seven games. This season many thought the team would be lucky to make the playoffs at all. After one superstar left for another team, the other superstar was left to carry the team and the organization on his back. He rose to the occasion, making history and cementing his value as a player in the NBA in the process. But to me, the value in Russell Westbrook's historic season goes far beyond basketball. Six ways he is teaching us all how to become the MVP in the face of adversity.
Goodbyes leave a lot of room for growth.
Had the Thunder roster looked the same as it did the previous season, would we be celebrating Russell Westbrook as MVP? Was there room for all of that energy and intensity that brought a record number of triple doubles? Sometimes goodbyes give us the space we need to grow into our potential. Westbrook had the potential of the NBA’s most valuable player. He just needed some room to grow into it. He didn’t spend time looking back at what was…he asked: “Whats next?” He expanded his leadership and presence on the court to fill the empty spaces that were left.
Focus on the outcome, not the obstacles.
What you feed will grow. What you starve will die. Westbrook focused on building bridges to his goals instead of burning bridges from the past. He had laser beam focus on what he needed to do to become better for the team. Every practice, rep, shoot around, team meeting. He was present and focused. He left no space for fear or doubt, even when the team was losing. Never the victim, he just picked himself and the team up and moved forward.
Love and accountability.
Russell Westbrook has a small circle. During his MVP speech, through tears, he thanked his wife and family. He said they keep him in check and keep him going. The saying goes that the five people you spend the most time with can tell a lot about your future. Make room around you for those who love you enough to hold you accountable and lift you up.
Loyalty and leadership.
Russell Westbrook doesn’t claim to be loyal. He doesn’t have to. Actions speak so much louder than words. Throughout the season the media sang the praises of Westbrook, often discrediting his teammates in the same breath. A wedge could have easily separated the superstar and his unequally yolked teammates, but Westbrook didn't have it. Consistently he defended his teammates, giving them credit and building them up, inspiring them to get better. His teammates respect him and follow his lead. He set a precedent. During his MVP speech, he brought his teammates on stage with him. He said the award was a team award and called them brothers for life. This season the Oklahoma City Thunder appeared as a more united front than ever before. Win or lose; they did it as a team with the most valuable player as their leader.
Gratitude is the best perspective.
Coaches, owners, management, office staff, agents, team doctors, trainers, massage therapists, equipment managers, chefs. It takes an army. And Russell Westbrook is mindful of that. He thanked them all in his MVP speech. While his talent and intensity ultimately made him the most valuable player, he gives credit to every person who played a role in his history-making season. Staying conscious of who all has helped you along the way is a constant reminder of the love that surrounds you.
His fashion turns heads. His style of play can be reckless. The choices he makes speak of his character. It is all part of the man that he is. And he makes no apologies for any of it. Russell Westbrook is not only the most valuable player; he is the most valuable person to those around him. He is unquestionably authentic because when you're that great, #whynot be?
Abbey Blair is Co-owner and Clinical Director at CorAspire Mental Health and Wellness Center. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Board approved LPC supervisor. Abbey received a Bachelors degree from Oklahoma State University, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Development and Family Science. She received her Masters degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in Counseling Psychology. Abbey has experience working with children, adults, families and couples on a wide variety of issues. Abbey is passionate about teaming up with her clients to address any issues that are keeping them from living their best life possible. Abbey takes Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Tricare, Healthchoice, and Soonercare insurance as well as private pay.