Russell Westbrook: Thunder Might Be Best Organization In Sports

Sunday, January 22nd 2012, 6:41 pm

By: News 9

Grant Belcher,

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook is usually pretty straightforward and business-like when there is a microphone in front of him.

So when he took the stage grinning from ear-to-ear at the Thunder Community Events Center, those in attendance knew he meant what he was saying.

"From day one, this is the spot I wanted to be," Westbrook said. "The organization believed in me by surprisingly picking me at No. 4 (in the 2008 draft).

"A lot of guys doubted me, but from day one this organization supported me, the fans, the people around, my teammates, my family supported me from day one and definitely gave me confidence that this is where I wanted to be."

Westbrook, coach Scott Brooks and Thunder GM Sam Presti held a press conference on Sunday afternoon to discuss the new contract awarded to Westbrook and how it affects the future of the organization.

Westbrook signed on for five years and approximately $80 million with no player option, which will keep him in Oklahoma City through the 2016-17 season.

He said it was a weight off his shoulders once he and the franchise determined that he would be staying.

"Once (the negotiations) got finished it definitely was a big relief and truly a blessing to be able to hear the good news and relay it to my family and friends," Westbrook said.

Westbrook gained some attention for his aggressive play during last year's Western Conference Finals and for a heated exchange on the OKC bench earlier in the season.

Some began to question whether Westbrook was a good fit for Oklahoma City or whether he wanted to play elsewhere, but he essentially put those doubts to rest by signing the new deal.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti said the same things that make Westbrook a great person make him a great player as well.

"The guy is so resilient," he said. "It's really kind of hard to keep him down, and he just continues to come back and work. It's incredibly impressive to me."

Westbrook said that one of the biggest reasons he felt right at home was the organization's desire to keep him on board.

"I think we might have the best organization in sports the way we do things the way we control the organization and the way guys are taken care of around here," Westbrook said. "And I can say this for any player in the league, you want to be somewhere where you are wanted."


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