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Embrace your Role and Play for your Teammates

Two weeks ago, right after the NBA season kicked off, we discussed how easy it can be to be a good teammate. The context of the topic was born from Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook and his early season struggles. Fans were booing him, the media was projecting a negative light upon him, and he was failing night after night. His teammate, Juan Toscano Anderson, stood up for him after a loss and created the sentiment for us to highlight.

Now, just a short time later, Westbrook has made a complete 180. He scored 28 points, had six assists and shot 64% off the bench on Saturday. He has not only won the Lakers’ fans back over—see the video below—but he’s totally reversed the narrative by dominating his new role.

Embracing your role and playing for your teammates is the best thing any athlete can do

What makes this turnaround for Russell Westbrook so special is the role that he has found himself in. He is now coming off the bench for the first time in his career, and is taking full advantage of the new opportunity. As a former league MVP, it could have been an easy thing for Westbrook to scoff at, instead, he chose to pay his teammates back by staying committed.

Things were grim not long ago, but his teammates never lost faith in him, and support in the locker room indubitably helped Westbrook rediscover his groove. This redemption story has been fun to keep up with, and is an easy example for young athletes to see the value in playing for their teammates no matter their role on the team.

basketball bench role

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