Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson has publicly urged fans to lessen the scrutiny directed at Lakers star Russell Westbrook and his family following news of the couple receiving death threats due to Westbrook’s play.
Johnson, a looming voice in the Lakers organization, came out on Tuesday (March 8) to defend Westbrook, highlighting the former MVP’s importance to the franchise’s goal to make it to the post-season and potentially make a championship run. “Russell plays an important role on the @Lakers team and will be a key component to the success of the rest of the season and the NBA Playoffs,” Johnson tweeted. “Let’s do better, rally around the Westbrook family, and support them. @russwest44.”
Russell plays an important role on the @Lakers team and will be a key component to the success of the rest of the season and the NBA Playoffs. Let's do better, rally around the Westbrook family, and support them. @russwest44
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) March 8, 2022
The five-time NBA champ speaking out on Westbrook’s behalf comes after Magic himself chided Westbrook for his lack of “ownership” and “accountability” over his underwhelming play, which many fans and pundits have attributed to the Lakers’ current woes. He even went on to suggest that the trade that brought Westbrook to Los Angeles could possibly “go down as the worst” in Lakers’ history if they fail to make it beyond the play-in game that determines the final playoff spots in each conference.
Magic said if the Lakers fail to make the playoffs, the "Russell Westbrook trade will be the worst in history" pic.twitter.com/aOCUHjjaiM
— ? (@laughsNball) March 6, 2022
“You know there were expectations when you called LeBron James and Anthony Davis and said you wanted to be a Laker,” Johnson said during a segment on ESPN. “You saw Kobe Bryant play and win all those championships. And Kobe said you were the guy! So you know you had to come here knowing that it’s about championships when you put on the purple and gold. Quit battling the press. Take ownership and accountability and say, ‘Hey, I haven’t played well but I got a chance to turn it around.’ So I’m tired of the excuses. It’s time to take ownership and say I’ve been playing poorly but hopefully I can turn it around.”