LOS ANGELES—Russell Westbrook says his family no longer attends Los Angeles Lakers games because of the relentless abuse directed at him by the team’s fans.
Westbrook has struggled to make an impact at the Lakers this season after joining the club last year, and is regularly subjected to heckling and catcalls during home games.
The 33-year-old former MVP has been dubbed “Westbrick” by sections of the Lakers support over his poor form.
On Monday, Westbrook’s wife Nina took to Twitter to speak out against the criticism, saying her family was subjected to “death wishes and “obscenities” on a daily basis.
Speaking after the Lakers’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, Westbrook said his family now avoided going to games in person.
“It affects them even going to games,” Westbrook said. “Like, I don’t even want to bring my kids to the game because I don’t want them to hear people calling their dad nicknames and other names for no reason because he’s playing the game that he loves.
“It’s gotten so bad where my family don’t even want to go to home games, to any game … and it’s just super unfortunate, man. And it’s super upsetting to me.”
Asked for his reaction to his wife’s tweets, Westbrook replied: “I 100 percent stand behind my wife and how she’s feeling.”
“When it comes to basketball, I don’t mind the criticism of missing and making shots,” he saiD.
“But the moment it becomes where my name is getting shamed, it becomes an issue.”
Westbrook said his “Westbrick” nickname was “shaming my name, my legacy for my kids.”
“It’s a name that means, not just to me, but to my wife, to my mom, my dad, the ones that kind of paved the way for me,” he said.
Lakers legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson has been sharply critical of Westbrook’s performances. In comments last weekend, Johnson said the Westbrook trade “could go down as the worst trade in Laker history.”
However Johnson rallied in support of Westbrook on Tuesday, calling on Lakers fans to halt attacks on the player and his family.
“Laker Nation, it’s our responsibility to come together and support Russell Westbrook and his family,” Johnson wrote.
“Threats and attacks on the Westbrook family are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
“There’s no place in sports for this type of behavior, period.”