Russell Westbrook takes issue with Reggie Jackson's celebration antics

ByRoyce Young ESPN logo
Wednesday, March 30, 2016

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Russell Westbrook said he took exception to former teammate Reggie Jackson's animated celebration with a few seconds remaining in the Detroit Pistons' 88-82 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.

"Yeah, I did actually," Westbrook said when asked if he disapproved. "Honestly, I think that was some real bulls---. I don't appreciate it for our team and our organization. I don't like it at all. But it is what it is. We'll see him down the line. We'll take care of that when we get there."

Following a game-clinching rebound by Aron Baynes and an ensuing Thunder foul, Jackson hopped along the sideline while waving at the crowd for an extended amount of time and also shot a look at the OKC bench. As Baynes took his free throws, Thunder center Steven Adams had a lengthy conversation with Jackson.

"Just surprised, really," Adams said. "Says a lot about him."

"Keep it up here, though," Adams said, pointing to his head, "for next time."

Jackson, who finished the game with 13 points on 4-of-15 shooting and six assists, downplayed the incident.

"He just said a few words," Jackson said of his conversation with Adams. "He said a few words, I said a few words."

Jackson's history with the Thunder reached a crescendo when he requested a trade at the deadline last season, which the Thunder accommodated in a three-team move that netted them Enes Kanter, among others.

Leading up to the trade, Jackson voiced his frustration in training camp about wanting to be a starter, saying, "I'm just trying to fill my role while I'm here." He also sat out a November game with an ankle injury despite being cleared to play, because, according to multiple sources, he was disappointed he wasn't traded before the Oct. 31 deadline to extend players on their rookie contracts.

This occurred when the Thunder were ravaged by injuries, down to only eight available players, which included missing Kevin Durant and Westbrook. Following Jackson's media availability at the shootaround that morning, where he said he wasn't sure if he'd play, he grabbed a ball and threw down an impressive windmill dunk in front of all his teammates.

Asked if Jackson's rough departure was the main reason for the animosity, Westbrook said, "It doesn't matter, man. Honestly, he wasn't changing nothing for us. Obviously, he didn't want to be here. He's at a better spot. He's not doing too much of a difference, if you ask me. So, he [is] going to stay over here in Detroit, we're going to stay over here, and we'll see him next season."

In the first meeting this season between the Thunder and Pistons, Durant and Westbrook took veiled shots at Jackson. Westbrook replied, "Who?" when asked about his former teammate despite very clearly hearing the question, and Durant made it a point to list the Pistons' best players while leaving Jackson out.

When Jackson was traded last season, Durant said, "We felt like everybody wanted to be here except for one guy."

After Tuesday's loss, the Thunder locker room was visibly irritated, with Westbrook sitting in full uniform for an unusual amount of time, staring blankly ahead. One player who wished not to be named had strong words about Jackson as well.

The Pistons' victory over the Thunder, who rested Durant andSerge Ibaka, ended OKC's eight-game winning streak and was an important game for Detroit's playoff chase. Now at 40-35, the Pistons are in seventh placein the East and are 2 games clear of the Bulls, who sit in ninth place.

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