The NBA is in the midst of the offseason, and one of its biggest names is using the time away to help out the community. Russell Westbrook, a member of the Houston Rockets, recently spent time handing out Thanksgiving meals to residents of Los Angeles. He donned a face mask and gloves to ensure that everything remained safe amid COVID-19.
"What's up? Russell Westbrook here at Jesse Owens' ninth-annual give back," the Rockets star said in a Twitter video. "This year's a little different with COVID[-19] and everything going on in our society, but I'm thankful to be here to be able to give back to so many families and to try to make a safe environment to be able to do it."
Yesterday my friends, family & I were in LA handing out Thanksgiving meals to those in need. Things are challenging right now & people are struggling. This is why it is more important than ever for me to support my community any way I can while keeping everyone safe. #whynot pic.twitter.com/38FhmL1rSm— Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) November 20, 2020
This meal giveaway was a partnership between Westbrook's Why Not? Foundation and the L.A. Regional Food Bank. They held the event at Jesse Owens Park and had several volunteers on hand, all of which wore PPE. In order to make everything safer, the giveaway was a "drive-thru" event where Westbrook put bags of food in each car that pulled up. There was no physical contact between him, the volunteers and those receiving the meals.
"Thanks for doing your part in trying to help those without means to try to enjoy this holiday season! Just shows what a good man you are! Wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving as well!" one Twitter user commented after watching the video. Several others chimed in and applauded the NBA player for his work in the community. Although others shifted their focus to the upcoming season.
The Athletic's Shams Charania recently reported that Westbrook wants out of Houston after only one season. He and teammate James Harden both reportedly "expressed concern" about the direction of the organization, which prompted a trade request. "Westbrook has informed team officials that he has been uneasy about the team's accountability and culture, and wants to join a team where he can have a role similar to his prior, floor-general role in Oklahoma City," Charania reported.
A former NBA MVP, Westbrook is under contract for the next three seasons after a trade sent him from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Chris Paul. Westbrook remained effective during the shortened 2019-20 season, averaging 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists in 57 games. He also earned All-Star honors for the ninth time in his career.