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Russell Westbrook: Best Male Athlete

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Russell Westbrook beams as he arrives on the red carpet at the 2017 ESPY Awards ceremony.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Russell Westbrook won the ESPY award for Best Male Athlete Wednesday night at the 25th awards ceremony hosted by ESPN at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. It was his second ESPY win as he took home the Best Comeback Athlete ESPY in 2014.

The Thunder’s star point guard beat out Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sydney Crosby. Westbrook set a 55-year-old NBA record with 42 triple-doubles, and he also averaged a triple-double and led the league in scoring in the 2016-17 season.

“First of all, I’d like to thank the Man above for blessing me with an unbelievable talent,” he said upon accepting the ESPY trophy.

Westbrook also thanked his wife and family and his teammates, “without them none of this would be possible.”

Phelps edged Westbrook for the Best Record-Breaking Performance ESPY. Phelps won five gold medals and one silver at the 2016 Summer Olympics to extend his career record of the most medals at 28 and the most gold medals at 23.

Russ also was nominated for two other ESPYs —Best NBA Player and Best Play for his buzzer-beating game-winning bucket against Denver late last season. Lebron James won the Best NBA Player honor. The Best Play ESPY went to Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who hooked up with receiver Jared Cook to overcome a third-and-20 situation against Dallas in the NFC Divisional Championship game last January.

During the ceremony, host Peyton Manning made a dig at Kevin Durant stating that the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team was so dominate in capturing the gold medal at last year’s Olympics, that Durant “told me he wants to play for them next year.” Manning was referring to Durant jumping from the Thunder to the Golden State Warriors, which earned KD a championship this year.

“And I don’t you could start for that (gymnastics) team Kevin,” Manning said.

Just about everyone in the audience laughed at Manning’s joke, but Durant looked pissed.

Manning then turned to Westbrook and asked, “Russell Westbrook, what do you think?”

Westbrook just peered over his sunglasses and held his hand to his mouth in noncommittal body language.

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About the Author

Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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