NBA superstar Russell Westbrook made UCLA history by giving the largest donation by any former basketball student athlete. UCLA will recognize Westbrook on January 7 during a UCLA men’s basketball at Pauley Pavilion.
“I loved my time at UCLA and jumped at the opportunity to give back to the University that provided me with amazing opportunities and great memories,” said Westbrook. “I am truly honored to be part of the legacy that is Bruin basketball.”
Westbrook contributed to the Mo Ostin Basketball Center, a state-of-the-art basketball training facility being built on campus. The groundbreaking ceremony of the building took place in August, according to UCLA Athletics. In response to Westbrook’s donation, the practice floor inside the facility will be known as the Russell Westbrook Court.
UCLA was relying on the donations of fans and alumni to create the basketball center. The fundraising goal was $25 million. Amenities will include locker rooms, video rooms, a strength and conditioning facility, and athletic training areas.
Westbrook, a Leuzinger high school alum, made waves in his two-year stint with the Bruins. During his sophomore year, Westbrook averaged 12.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists. UCLA had a 35-4 overall record that season, which earned them the regular season Pac-10 title and the Pac-10 tournament title. He also earned a spot on the 2008 Pac-10 All-Tournament Team.
With Westbrook, the Bruins earned their first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament since 1995 and appeared in the Final Four in 2007 and 2008. In the 2008 NBA draft, Westbrook was the No. 4 overall pick, selected by the then Seattle Supersonics.
In 2012, Westbrook assisted in the Oklahoma City Thunder in reaching the NBA Finals. The four-time NBA All-Star also garnered media attention for the outfits he wore during press conferences. That summer, Westbrook was a member of the USA men’s basketball Olympic team and helped the team earn a gold medal.
Westbrook is currently averaging 25 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 9.5 assists; he has also earned 17 double-doubles this season. Last season, Westbrook made 11 triple-doubles, according to ESPN.
“Russell isn’t merely a dominant force in the NBA, he’s a force to be reckoned with in the community as well,” said UCLA Director of Athletics Dan Guerroro. “While his Why Not? Foundation’s mission is to inspire the lives of children and teach them to never give up, the fact of the matter is, having witnessed firsthand and from afar his growth over the years, Russell himself is an inspiration.”