The Bleacher Report has a pretty incredible story on Russell Westbrook running right now. Entitled "From the Bottom to the Top: The Russell Westbrook Story," it's one of the better reads on Russ you're going to find and really delves deep into his background. It also does an amazing job of showing how one handles being sinisterly competitive while also having a tender heart of gold.
Here's one of the opening excerpts that sets the stage. What really took me by surprise is that Russ says he never expected to be an NBA player.
Compton Avenue is indestructible. It has to be.
There is a beauty to this ragged asphalt ribbon. A rhythm. A history. It carries unfair burdens. It knows pains.
But not all pain is an evil. Sometimes it's annexed to some odd form of hope you can't understand if you're not from here.
This is a birthplace, after all.
This is where Russell Westbrook comes from.
The kid with the high cheekbones and contoured jaw—who traffics in a peculiar blend of artificial anger and tight-fitting clothing—knows this concrete. He knows all this rhythm, history and pain.
His sunglass line is sold at Barney's. His Vine-inducing dunks grow ever more daring. His passion confounds. His meteoric rise on the hardwood and place in pop culture were predicted by no one. Not even him. None of it can be accurately explained.
Compton Avenue is a start. Or Jesse Owens Park. Or the living room of his parents' small apartment.
"I never thought I was going to play in the NBA," says Westbrook. "A lot of people who are in the NBA now have been good since they were eight. I wasn't good until I was 17."
Every superhero has an origin story. With any good hero, reluctance is expected—just so long as it gives way to ambition and resolve.
That's just the tip of the iceberg. Go give it a read!