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.