Former Los Angeles Lakers and current Utah Jazz (for the moment) guard Russell Westbrook has taken issue with many things that reporters and sports media members have said about him recently. Now, his wife is pushing back on ESPN NBA reporter Dave McMenamin and his source who said that her husband was a “vampire” in the Lakers locker room.
Following the trade that sent Westbrook to Utah, McMenamin appeared on ESPN Thursday morning and said that, per a source, the move was akin to removing a “vampire from the locker room.”
“As one source told me, ‘you remove a vampire from the locker room’.”
Dave McMenamin spoke on the Lakers moving on from Russell Westbrook. pic.twitter.com/l4uCxvKo91
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 9, 2023
“This was the time to do it. Russell Westbrook was not going to be a part of the team after this summer when his contract expired, and also when his contract came off the books, the Lakers would have less money to deal with in the free agency period this summer,” said McMenamin. “So you had to do it if you wanted to get those pieces you could have part of the team moving forward. You get younger, you got shooting, you got switchable defenders, and as one source told me, ‘you remove a vampire from the locker room.’ That meaning the vampire sucks the blood out of the locker room. Russell Westbrook moves on.”
That quote caught the attention of Nina, who commented on an NBA on ESPN Instagram post, saying it was “sick” to put that out there.
"I have school aged children who have to listen to their peers repeat the nasty things that you guys say on television about their father. I guess I will prepare myself to explain to my 5 year old that his dad is not actually a vampire."
Russell Westbrook's wife, Nina on IG ? pic.twitter.com/U9X3uW4WW9
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) February 10, 2023
“This is just sick ESPN… Russell is no vampire,” Nina wrote. “This also slander because anyone who knows anything knows that this couldn’t be further from the truth. On a personal note, I have school-aged children who have to listen to their peers repeat the nasty things that you guys say on television about their father. I guess I will prepare myself to explain to my 5-year-old that his dad is not actually a vampire and that major news outlets only say things like that to get attention.”
She wasn’t alone in calling the quote out, as many notable NBA players also commented by asking for the source to be revealed and own up to the assessment.
“Whose [sic] the source?” asked Carmelo Anthony.
“Stop it,” said Donovan Mitchell.
“Put a name on it,” added Chris Paul.
Westbrook and Lakers head coach Darvin Ham reportedly got into a heated exchange on Tuesday night, just a few days before he was traded. His tenure with the franchise could also hardly be described as positive and trade rumors have dogged him for months, so it’s not too surprising to learn there was animosity behind the scenes.
That said, Nina certainly wasn’t alone in disliking the description of Westbrook, with many taking the unnamed source to task while others put the blame on McMenamin for not naming them.
Geez, this is nasty stuff by whoever in the Lakers FO said this to Dave.
You don't have to like the guy, but pretty strange to try and frame him like this after he seemingly did everything asked of him to stay on the team. https://t.co/7n3E48uSto
— Anthony Nash (@_anthonynash) February 9, 2023
This is why players hate the media. https://t.co/OM9irBPC7x
— Farbod Esnaashari (@Farbod_E) February 9, 2023
This doesn't feel like something you *should* say on National TV. https://t.co/57h0MjSfuX
— Hot Hot Hoops (@hothothoops) February 9, 2023
It sounds like the Jazz are going to buy out Westbrook’s contract, but he’s sure to land in a new NBA locker room soon enough. We’ll see if these vampiric reports follow him wherever he ends up next.