Michael Jordan is not a guy who easily gives out praise to other NBA players whether past or present, so when he goes out of his way to show nothing but love and respect for Russell Westbrook, you know it’s sincere. MJ praised Russ for his loyalty as he helped induct him into the Oklahoma Hall Of Fame last night in Oklahoma City. He even managed to take a very slight jab at Kevin Durant as well as joke that Russ could’ve left the Thunder for the Charlotte Hornets.


“Another thing you guys should be proud of is the sense of loyalty this kid has shown,” Jordan said as the crowd burst into an extended cheer.

“He could’ve easily come to Charlotte,” Jordan said, smiling, “But he decided to stay here in Oklahoma. I’m not here to try and bash anybody that’s not here. Everybody has a choice. I’m not saying everybody doesn’t have a choice. But when I saw he chose to stay in Oklahoma I was so proud, and as Clay [Bennett] knows and Russ know, I texted him to show a sense of respect.”

It was just about a year ago that OKC players gathered at the Oklahoma Hall Of Fame to be on hand to induct Kevin Durant. At the time he said he hoped everyone would be there next year to for Westbrook’s induction. As you might have guess, Durant wasn’t on hand.

Russell Westbrook is the current face of the Jordan Bran but his relationship with the GOAT is based on more than that. He truly has respect for Russ that he didn’t necessarily have for the majority of players he went against.

“Michael’s obviously the best player to play the game,” Westbrook said. “He’s done so many things for the game of basketball in so many ways and broke down so many barriers for guys like myself to go out and compete at a high level. So it means a lot in that aspect. And off the court obviously he’s created a great brand, something I eventually want to do when I’m done playing.”

For Jordan, being there to present Russ was a no brainer. “When Russell asked me to be a presenter, I didn’t even pause because of the relationship and the respect that I have for Clay [Bennett] and obviously the respect that I have for Russell,” Jordan said. “I’m truly a fan of his. If you can ever say, being that we’re so many years apart, that I can now watch him play, I see a lot of resemblance in his passion for the game of basketball in the way I play the game of basketball.”

“[H]is passion for the game of basketball, you don’t teach that. You’re born with that,” Jordan said. “He shares it with everyone here in Oklahoma. You guys should be certainly proud of that, and the effort and the loyalty he’s showed to this state, to this city and this community. Each and every day he’s goes out with his Why Not? campaign and his foundation to make sure less fortunate kids get the opportunity to participate in things they’d never even have the opportunity to participate in. He does a great job supporting this community. Feel proud about Russell Westbrook.”