I Would Run You Over With My Car for Russell Westbrook’s Jacket

Let’s talk about March 3rd of 2019. Largely an unremarkable day, March 3rd was the first Sunday of the month. Not a clue what I did that day, except I remember one thing in particular, and haven’t forgotten it since: Russell Westbrook got a fit off.

The Oklahoma City Thunder edged out the Memphis Grizzlies 99-95 that day, but that’s not important. Beyond that game, which was held between a team destined for the playoffs and one destined for a decent draft pick, not much happened on the court. What is important and actually worth mentioning is the ensemble Russell Westbrook wore in the pregame tunnel on the way to the locker room of the Chesapeake Arena.

Russell Westbrook is widely known as one of the NBA’s pillars of fashion (not to mention an MVP and someone who clearly has no respect for gravity), giving cameras and social media plenty of fodder, whether he’s taunting a former lanky teammate’s status as a “photographer” or contributing to the denim revival.

Style on the court in the NBA is largely influenced by this one man, this one man who destroys basketball hoops and defenders’ self-respect for a living. He runs so fast, he’s like when you have dreams about driving a car and your foot gets stuck on the gas. Russell Westbrook, someone whose explosively violent dunks make Tom Cruise stunts look boring.

Westbrook’s unrelenting desire to destroy opponents and their desire to continue guarding him every night is why he signed a 5-year, $205M deal two years ago – you pay that Sonic/Hulk/Frog hybrid as much as it requires.

He really doesn’t do anything else that anyone else does. No one else averages a triple double three years running. No other MVP would stay in a small market like Oklahoma City. Besides being a sentient stick of dynamite, Russell can bring the drip like no one else.

If you read that last sentence and rolled your eyes, drip is a term for style. Drip is style that makes you do a double-take, that keeps you staring at your phone screen, thumb hovering in a style-induced stupor before eventually double-tapping out of respect. Drip is this outfit that Russell wore on March 3rd, courtesy of @leaguefits.

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A power-fit in pink, Russ is cozy enough to fall asleep during a bad movie and fresh enough to grab 25k likes, considerably more than most outfits get on the account, even his other pregame tunnel outfits.

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“DRIP GOD” is right, @plutodashh_. But look at that jacket, all quilted and colorful, something you’d see in Pendleton’s catalog. It might be from Pendleton, but I don’t think so; I browse their inventory every week and never saw it in March, much to my chagrin.

Just look at this warm little wonder. The colors are perfect, the cut is perfect, and the rest of the fit is perfect, sweatsuit with Jordans to match, capped off by this jacket that will, and should, elude me.

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Russell Westbrook’s jacket probably has some handy little pockets on the inside where you can stash your keys or where you’d put your phone so it doesn’t slip out of your sweatpants pocket, which we all know is one of the least-efficient pockets known to man – can barely keep your hands warm, if you can even fit them in there. Fingers are usually all close together looking like a giant squid swimming aerodynamically, your knuckles barely making inside the pocket lining. Sweats with big pockets do exist, but they’re always really loose-fitting and not as comfortable as normal-legged ones. Anyway.

I’d run you over with my car for this jacket.

I’d call the IRS and tell them your grandma hasn’t paid her taxes in 28 years if it meant I could have a link to buy this jacket online somewhere.

I’d steal your PS4 controller, take out the X button, and return it with a dead battery if it meant I could touch this jacket sent from heaven.

I love each and every color on this jacket; the reds, the blues, the yellows and is that a bit of green? Kinda hard to tell, but I don’t think that’s green. I want that sweatshirt too. And the sweatpants. The shoes aren’t bad, but I’m not much of a Jordan guy (actually, despite loving everything he does and says, I really dislike every Jordan shoe Russell Westbrook has had so far, they’re all terrible).

Judging by the sleeves poking out from this much-revered (by me) article of extreme drippage, Russ’ shirt underneath is pink as well, which is not surprising; if you’re gonna have this kind of fit, you’re gonna go full throttle on the pink.

I’d go full throttle running your ass over if it meant this fashion statement was mine.

 

13 Points in 33 Seconds: The Greatest Achievement in Human History

Tracy McGrady isn’t my favorite athlete, something I discovered as a kid when my friends and I were talking about our favorite athletes of all time. Up to that point, I hadn’t really thought about it that much – I could list off a top ten or top five athletes from various sports, but never placed them in a specific, unchanging order.

The list was fluid, changing as my interests wavered. Basketball overtook baseball, which was then surpassed by soccer, which is and will always be at the top of the theoretical athletics totem pole. At some point, my list of favorite athletes would have to follow suit.

When I was around 14, Tracy McGrady was a fluid number one overall on my list, falling to two or three depending on how LeBron James or Cristiano Ronaldo were performing. LeBron and CR7 make the top three for obvious reasons, the most obvious being they’re two fucking GOATs and do amazing shit on a weekly basis.

Tracy made top three for a few reasons:

  1. His jersey number was 1 (most of the time), which is like saying, “Hey, I’m better than you at this, and I’m going to make sure you’re all aware of it.”
  2. He played for the Magic when I played for the Magic (on my [very stacked] Parks & Rec team)
  3. He wore a leg sleeve and an armband, which was swag on another level
  4. He could dunk on you (RIP Shawn Bradley) and then hit a three in your face
  5. Tracy McGrady is a great name, and T-Mac is a great nickname

Those are solid reasons to place a guy in one’s top three favorite athletes, but there’s another one that pretty much guarantees he can never fall out of the top three.

On December 9, 2004, my fucking boy T-Mac did something that no one will likely ever do again in human history. It was absolutely mad – the scenes…

Down 76-68 to the San Antonio Spurs, Tracy and his fellow Houston Rockets had a hill to climb and no time at all to do it – they were down 8 points with 43 seconds to left in the game, a deficit that is improbable, but not impossible to overcome.

It helps to have a Tracy McGrady on your team, a lanky 6’8” guard with tenacity and the ability to take over a game single-handedly, but those aren’t always in stock.

Okay, so 43 seconds to go, down 8, and T-Mac brings the ball up the court, Bruce Bowen guarding him closely. Typical Spurs, playing till the clock runs out.

Also, very typical Bruce Bowen. If you don’t know who he is, he’s this bald guy that was really, really, very extremely good at defending, especially around the perimeter.

Tracy does a little spin, executing it kinda poorly, but he gets saved by a screen which Bruce blindly cascades into, freeing up Tracy for an open three, which he drills like he’s tightening a screw into a wall or something. I don’t know, just know he made the shot, and it was beautiful.

There’s a video at the bottom of this, of course, but you should stick around for the words. I did these.

36 seconds on the clock as the ball goes in, and the Rockets are now down by five, 76-71.

The Spurs then scored in their typical boring fashion. 78-71 with about 32 seconds to go. Gulp.

Tracy brings the ball up the court again. Bruce is guarding him too closely again.

Guess what? Bruce got his ankles broken by a McGrady crossover then got screened again thanks to Yao Ming’s incredible stature and ability to take up space by being absolutely gigantic.

Using the screen, Tracy hits another three, this one being wet as fuckand in Tim Duncan’s eye. Celebrations ensuedespite the deficit. Home crowds can sense a comeback, and they were in for a legendary finish to an altogether ordinary game (you know, excluding the final 43 seconds).

Houston is down 4 points with 24.3 seconds left, barely more than the shot clock limit. (That’s 24 seconds long, but I mean, you gotta know that, right? It’s pretty common knowledge. Your crotchety middle school gym teacher with a Polish last name might not have enforced a shot clock, but there is one.)

Fast forward to 16 seconds left, and the Rockets are inbounding the ball. At this point, who really cares what happened when the Spurs had possession. Houston is down five, and the clock is ticking.

T-Mac receives the ball, once again stuck to Bruce Bowen by his freakish defensive gravity, luring opponents so close their jerseys blended together to make one four-digit number. Scrambling for space, Tracy manages to make just a few inches of space for a shot, which he launches with some apparent difficulty. It was honestly an uglyass shot, one that should never go in, but the shot wasn’t about to miss, not after the last two threes.

Bang. Houston now down two, 80-78 with 11.2 seconds remaining. Tracy was feeling it, the crowd was feeling it, and Gregg Popovich was trying his best not to let his team feel it too, as they were losing their grip on a game they should have had locked down before this run ever started.

Too late.

San Antonio then took a timeout, hopefully using the time to draw up a plan, which probably consisted of running around and using up every second while their lead was still intact.

If that was the plan, they only got the ‘running around’ part right. As for the ‘using up every second’ part, they only ate up four seconds; there were still seven remaining, which is great but only if you play for the Houston Rockets.

During the four seconds they had the ball, the Spurs managed to give the ball away to the man of the final 43 seconds, Tracy McGrady. Oops.

T-Mac has seven seconds to run up the court, avoiding all of his teammates at any cost, as they were all pretty trash. Well, they were.

Once again staying behind the three-point line, Tracy finds the nearest Spurs player with terrible, no good very bad hair, Brent Barry, and pulls up in his face. Not even two seconds left on the clock: splash.

81-80, Houston Rockets. A low-scoring affair, but one that instantly placed itself in the annals of basketball’s greatest moments. 13 points from 33 seconds. I don’t know if there’s a sport where that wouldn’t be spectacular.

(In golf, that’d be terrible, but golf is barely a sport and I played it in high school. We sucked.)

It wasn’t showing off or during a meaningless All-Star game, where defending is a seemingly unwritten and long forgotten rule; it was in the first few months of the season, and against a local rival during a comeback, one of the quickest in memory.

A feat like that will likely never happen ever again, one that I was alive to cherish.

Well, I saw it that night on SportsCenter, but it was still amazing to see, especially since Tracy has always been one of my favorite athletes.

No one else did that. Nobody. Go ahead, name someone – nope, they didn’t do it.

It’s a sacred moment in sports history, not just basketball. It’s likely that only basketball heads will know of it or remember it, but that’s enough. Let the greatest comeback ever achieved in 43 seconds by one person be cherished by those that truly appreciate how uncommon that was.

13 points in 33 seconds in an NBA game? Dude went from high school to the NBA and then did that. If you ask me, the second achievement is far superior.

As a reward for your patience (or for scrolling for two seconds) here’s the video in all it’s glory.