NBA Star Russell Westbrook Shuts Down 'False Narratives' and Shares His Why in New Documentary
NBA star Russell Westbrook is changing the narrative about himself through his new documentary, Passion Play.
Ahead of his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, the 32-year-old athlete released the Showtime film, which he executive produced, that gives fans an inside look at his life, career, and — most importantly — his character. As an athlete whose attitude and character are often scrutinized, Westbrook is ready to shed new light on himself.
"People don't really understand who I am," he says in the documentary. "I'd be lying if I said it didn't affect me."
The point guard recently spoke with PEOPLE about creating the documentary and says the project wasn't necessarily "for him," but rather for others to see the importance of sharing your own perspective and "overcoming false narratives" or what people might say about you.
"I'm able to just share a little snippet of my life of how I'm able to get through that, but also understand that I'm a human being just like everybody else regardless of what I do and how I do it," Westbrook explains.
The father of three adds, "I just want people to understand, athletes and kids from around the world, that regardless of what people may say about you, that doesn't determine who you are and what you're able to become in this world."
Since he was drafted in the NBA in 2008, Westbrook has been known for being electric and vocal on the court. However, the athlete and his family say he's always been a shy, family man.
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The star attributes his polar-opposite attitude on the court to his passion for the sport, explaining that he needs to be "emotionally locked-in" in order to compete at a high level and can turn on that switch during a game.
Westbrook reveals that with basketball, he's simply "creating a legacy for my kids" and staying motivated by his wife Nina Earl and their children Noah, Skye, and Jordyn. He also keeps his drive to succeed by honoring his late childhood friend Khelcey Barrs each game, whom Westbrook said was on track to enter the league by his side before his untimely death.
"He's definitely a part of my life, always will," he shares of Barrs. "His connection with me goes further than basketball just being my childhood friend. And I always make sure I continue to keep that connection with him."
Though he didn't start on his high school basketball team until his junior year, Westbrook has become one of the best guards in the NBA. Through his documentary, fans will be able to see the drive that has led him to success in the NBA, noting that he's always been "naturally hard on myself."
The All-Star currently holds the record for the most career triple-doubles in NBA history with 184 and counting. Following his historic accomplishment, Westbrook has often been dubbed the "triple-double king" — a title he calls an "honor."
"There's a lot of people that came before me that set the table to allow me to be able to get this title that's been kind of given to me throughout the last couple years," he says.
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In Passion Play, sports commentators explained that Westbrook will always be a notable name in the NBA for the accomplishment, despite still pursuing his first NBA championship win. Westbrook tells PEOPLE that he's "at peace" with his career as he continues in the league while staying true to himself and no longer sees the need to try and prove himself.
"My peace is my faith," he shares. "I'm extremely blessed and thankful to be able to do the things I'm able to do but knowing none of this would be possible without the faith and having belief in God and understanding that he has placed me in a position to be who I'm able to be for other people. And that allows me to be at peace at all times."
While the release of his Passion Play ultimately clarifies how people perceive him, Westbrook ensures he's not changing anything about himself and hopes audiences will take away "why I do the things I do and the way I do them, and understanding how I'm able to achieve some of the things I've achieved."
Westbrook added, "But my attitude and my mentality and who I am? I'll always stay authentic to who I am, because I believe that's the best way to be."
Passion Play: Russell Westbrook airs Oct. 15 on Showtime.
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