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Podcast: How would we view Russell Westbrook if he played before social media?

Russell Westbrook is pretty polarizing given everything he’s accomplished. How would he be perceived had he played in a different era?

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Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

All too often in modern analysis, it certainly feels like people spend a lot more time talking about the things athletes don’t do well than the incredible things they’re capable of on a nightly basis. Russell Westbrook is a flawed player to be sure, but it would be fascinating to think of how he’d be perceived had he played at a time where not everyone could hop on social media and pick nits about his game.

This week on “The Anthony Irwin Show,” Leigh Ellis of No Dunks, Inc. stopped by to discuss the path he took to get where he is today, his early fandom of the Los Angeles Lakers, what he thinks of the current roster and that time he kicked a ball and cost his team a win.

Leigh and I were reminiscing about the VHS tapes we used to watch pre-Youtube and how players back then were portrayed. It’s given way to conversations that, for the most part, highlight the incredible things guys like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird did. So we wondered how someone like Russ would be discussed if we had less information and he played in a less analytically-inclined era.

From there, we hopped into a discussion about these Lakers and the fit Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis all have together. Does Leigh think they can figure things out? What would that look like, both in terms of basketball and for the rest of the league?

We wrap up with a quick conversation about all the will-they, won’t-theys around the NBA and jump into Leigh’s most embarrassing sports moments, which featured a bricked free-throw and a kicked basketball.

You can listen to the full episode below, and to make sure you never miss a show, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.

And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.

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