Russell Westbrook was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame on Thursday night. But before the official induction took place, Michael Jordan—who has talked about how much he admires Westbrook as a player in the past—was on hand to deliver a speech to help introduce Westbrook to the crowd. And he had a lot of really nice things to say about Westbrook and the “loyalty” he has shown to both the Thunder and the people of Oklahoma City. MJ said it’s that loyalty that Thunder fans should be most proud of with regards to Westbrook.
“When Clay asked me, it was a privilege,” Jordan said. “I didn’t even pause, because of the relationship and the respect I have for Clay, and obviously the respect I have for Russell. I am truly a fan of his. If you can ever say, being that we’re so many years apart, that when I watch him play, I see a lot of resemblance of his passion for the game of basketball (to) the way I played the game of basketball.
“I can’t say enough about this gentleman. I’ve looked at him from afar. I’ve had countless conversations with (Thunder general manager) Sam (Presti). I remember the conversation that we had when you guys were about to draft him and I was trying to move up in the draft to get him, which you knew, which you wouldn’t even consider. But the thing about him that very few basketball players have is his passion for the game of basketball. Every time I played the game of basketball, when I stepped onto that floor, I always felt like there was someone there that never saw me play the game of basketball, and that motivated me every single night. This kid has the same passion, and you can’t give that.”
“Another thing you guys should be proud about is the sense of loyalty that this kid has shown to the state of Oklahoma,” added Jordan, to applause from the audience. “He could’ve easily come to Charlotte, but he decided to stay here in Oklahoma. I’m not here to try to bash anyone that’s not here. Everybody has a choice. I’m not saying that you don’t have a choice. Everybody has a choice. And when I saw that he chose to stay here in Oklahoma, I was so proud … I text him to show a sense of respect. You guys have a very special kid.”