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Shaq made a really good point about Russell Westbrook not winning a championship yet

After his huge game against the Pacers earlier this week, Russell Westbrook has been at the center of attention this week for the NBA.

It all started when Stephen A. Smith said he didn’t care about Westbrook’s historic triple-double because he still hadn’t won a championship yet.

Westbrook responded by saying that he was a champion as soon as he made the NBA and that he wasn’t going to allow the media to disparage him anymore. Smith responded to that by saying that he wasn’t questioning his character and was only criticizing what he’s done on the court.

In the aftermath of the back and forth, Shaq did a pretty good job making sense of it all.

He explained that what Westbrook is going through is what every single NBA superstar has gone through. And while winning a championship would be amazing, it isn’t what will make his legacy as a player.

“When you’re a great player and you’re putting up great numbers, people are always going to say ‘But do you have a championship?’ If you don’t get a championship, that’s not a knock. You can’t tell me Allen Iverson is not one of the greatest point guards. You can’t tell me John Stockton is not one of the greatest point guards. You can’t tell me Karl Malone and Charles Barkley is one of the greatest power forwards…That’s the only unfortunate thing about this business. Everybody had to go through it. It’s not like we’re picking on him. All of the greats — and we look at him as a great player — everybody had to go through this.” 

That’s pretty well said. It is the unfortunate part of the analysis that we get on the NBA — for so many, it starts and stops with championships.

But Shaq is also right in saying that a championship is not what determines an all-time great player. There are so many who never won titles and so many who did win titles, but didn’t do so as the best player on their team. There’s plenty of context that goes into it.

Russell Westbrook is already an all-time great player. He’s one of the best point guards to ever play the game. Whether he ever wins a championship won’t change that one bit.

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