Mon, Sep 05, 2016 - Page 11 News List

MVP Westbrook in Taipei to help kids, endorse shoes

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook speaks at a news conference in Oklahoma City on June 1.

Photo: AP

Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Russell Westbrook yesterday said that his main task in the upcoming season is to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder into the playoffs and win the championship, adding that he would play every game as if it was his last.

The point guard arrived in Taipei yesterday morning to promote Air Jordan shoes and launch the Jordan Wings program, which provides disadvantaged young people with academic assistance, as well as an opportunity to engage in any kind of sport.

He is the third NBA player to visit Taiwan this summer, preceded by shooting guard Andre Lee Roberson and former Thunder forward Kevin Durant.

Asked if there would be any change in his role at the Thunder after Durant left for the Golden State Warriors, Westbrook said the biggest difference would be the leadership role he is to assume.

“We’ve got some new players. Some are younger and others have not been in a playoff team before. My job is to make sure that they understand what the goal is and the task at hand, [which is] to win a championship,” he said.

Westbrook finished last season with an average of 23.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game. He also achieved 18 triple-doubles in one season, tying the record set by former Los Angeles Lakers point guard Magic Johnson.

Asked if he aims to break the triple-double record this season, Westbrook said that would be a big goal to reach.

Considering his extraordinary performance in the last NBA season, some US media outlets have predicted that Westbrook is most likely to win the MVP for a third time this season.

In response, he said he does not think much about it.

“At one point in time they did not look at me like that, and I was at the bottom. All of a sudden I was at the top. I just go with the flow,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to the season and trying to win the championship.

In addition to attending a news conference last night, Westbrook also coached 24 young local basketball players.

He is scheduled to attend a ground-breaking ceremony for a flagship store for Jordan products in Taipei’s Xinyi District before leaving Taiwan.

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