Q&A with: Thunder's Russell Westbrook

By Jenni Carlson Published: January 3, 2009
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Russell Westbrook has a chance to take on Dwight Howard in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. One of three rookies will be selected by fans, and the Thunder guard has a strong case to be the man. Thing is, you won’t believe how long he’s been dunking.

Jenni Carlson: Let’s start at the beginning — when did you start playing basketball?

Russell Westbrook: When I was about 7. Pretty much I was playing all the sports at the same time. Baseball. Football. Basketball. Even a little tennis.

JC: Your favorite?

RW: Football was my favorite. That was the one I was good at. I was good at basketball and baseball, too, but I was real good at football. A lot of people I see today think I play football still.

JC: What positions did you play?

RW: See, I was short, so I was playing running back and linebacker. That was before I got my growth spurt.

JC: When did that happen?

RW: In high school. When I was a junior going into my senior year. I was always short, like 5-9.

JC: True or false — you couldn’t dunk until your senior year.

RW: Uh huh.

JC: When did you finally dunk?

RW: The middle of my senior year in a game against my rival high school.

JC: Had you dunked in practice?

RW: I always missed. I used to always hit the back of the rim. I could barely dunk.


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