Russell Westbrook is feeling like he’s on top of the world after his press conference in Oklahoma City yesterday, officially announcing his three year/$85 million dollar contract extension. As it turns out though, he didn’t need yesterday to feel like he was on top of the world. Nope, he very likely experienced that same feeling a couple weeks ago in Vegas when Michael Jordan spoke about him during the launch of the Air Jordan XXXI, where the GOAT said Russell is the same player he was.


Russ Bengtson of Complex was in Vegas two weeks ago to cover the event and he wrote about how prior to an interview that he and DJ Clark Kent were going to have with Russ, they were in the green room while video clips played for the crowd. In the clips, designer Tate Kuerbis, Westbrook and Jordan talked about the sneaker, which Westbrook is the primary endorser of but he had never seen the video and even from the green room was trying to poke his head out and watch his own highlights on the screen. That’s when the video ended and Jordan spoke.

“Thirty years ago, that’s me,” he said of Westbrook. “The attitude, trying to prove myself, showing so much passion for the game of basketball. You see it in his play. You can tell he loves the game, he plays with energy and flair.”

As you might expect, hearing that from the man himself made Russell feel like he made it. Being compared to great players by the media or by fans is one thing but to have Michael Jordan mention you in the same breath as himself is pretty epic.

“That’s crazy,” he told us during his interview. “I really don’t know what to say. To have the best player who ever played the game to say that about you as a player and as a person is something that is going to keep me striving.”

For all the criticism of his game sometimes, there is no questioning Westbrook’s passion and desire to win, which is something Jordan knows about very well. There is perhaps nobody else in the game currently now that Kobe retired, who has that killer instinct Jordan had besides Westbrook and it’s pretty dope to see the GOAT acknowledge that.