OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City Thunder’s superstar Russell Westbrook has a new honor to add to his name.
On Monday night, Westbrook, 28, was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the 2017 season.
The All-Star beat out James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs for the league’s top honor.
According to ESPN, this was not a close race for MVP, with Westbrook receiving 69 of 101 first-place votes, Harden 22, Leonard nine and LeBron James one.
Westbrook began his acceptance speech by thanking God and the Thunder organization.
He then asked several teammates to come up to the stage with him to share the moment.
“These are my brothers, man,” Westbrook said. “These guys sacrificed so much for me throughout the year. It was obviously an amazing season for me, but without these guys [and] the rest of our guys that’s not here, man, none of this would be possible. So this award is not for me. It’s for all of these guys, and I’m very, very thankful to have you guys in my corner. You guys are my brothers, for life.”
After thanking the fans in Oklahoma City for “riding with me since day one, through good games, bad games, always there, lifting me up,” Westbrook thanked his family.
“Without you guys, I don’t know where I would be,” he said. “I can’t be standing here without your support, your sacrifice, everything you guys have done for me, starting with my parents. My parents … man. You guys did any and everything to make sure me and my brother had anything we wanted.”
“I can’t say thank you enough,” he continued through tears. “You guys sacrificed. Everything you’ve done … Pops, O.G., working two jobs, getting up at four in the morning, waking me up every night, going to the gym, shooting hoops outside, staying up late, playing the video games, man. To my mom, doing everything to keep our family together. Truly blessed to have you as my mother. It’s just so amazing — I couldn’t be able to do none of this without you guys. I can’t say thank you enough. There’s so many things I can say about you guys, just for putting me here. I’m just thankful to have you guys in my corner. I love you guys.”
Westbrook then turned the attention to his little brother Ray, saying he was his role model.
“My road dog,” he said. “You mean so much to me, man. You’re my role model. You’re my role model. I look up to you, man. I truly look up to you. You’re amazing. I’m so happy to have you as my brother. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. A lot of you guys may not know, but my brother just got his master’s [degree] two weeks ago. I’m so proud of him, not just for that, but for the man he is today. Just for helping me, lifting me up, every single day.
“My brother, man — he texts me every single game at halftime. Every game. Since I’ve been in the league, he texts me every game at halftime. He don’t got to do that, man. He does that because he has a kind heart, and he looks out for me. I love you from the bottom of my heart, brother. I promise you.”
The MVP then ended his speech by thanking his wife, Nina.
“Since day one, meeting you, 2007, back at UCLA, I knew you were special, and special to me,” he said. “You make me go. You hold me down. You keep me in check, through good and through bad. You make sure that I’m on the right track, and I’m so, so appreciative of you, because you’ve sacrificed so, so much for me every single day, and I can’t thank you enough. As a wife in this league, man, to be able to sacrifice some of the things you’ve sacrificed, and everything that you do, I can’t put it in words and describe how thankful I am for you, to have you in my life.
“You’ve blessed me with a beautiful son that I’m so thankful for. You continue to make me go. Every time I come home, regardless of good or bad game, every time I see your face, your smile, it does nothing but brighten me up, and I just want to say that I love you.”
After his win, the Oklahoma City Thunder posted a sweet video from Taylor Swift, congratulating Westbrook on the huge honor.
“Ahh Russell… It’s Taylor. Remember? I was the one who taught you basketball. I was the one who taught you to dribble, and shoot hoops and I remember the first time you beat me at basketball, and I was really upset, and you said you just have to shake it off and I got an idea…,” she said in the video.
“So essentially we have to thank each other for these careers. So that’s why I’m art of your congratulations video, because we go back 20 years…. Actually we’ve never met and that’s a fake story but I wish that was the truth,” she said. “You are amazing you are the MVP and I’m so happy for you!”
Westbrook’s historic season came on the heels of the loss of Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors last summer.
Despite losing a star player, Westbrook led the team with his tenacity on the court and made history along the way.
Throughout the season, Westbrook was featured in highlight reels for his unbelievable plays that seemed to set a tone for the Thunder’s season.
In April, Westbrook made history when he earned his 42nd triple-double of the season, overtaking Oscar Robertson for the most triple-doubles in a single season.
One month later, Westbrook was named a finalist for the prestigious award along with Houston’s James Harden and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard.
There was some debate among analysts about whether or not Westbrook’s historic season would earn him the title over some of the league’s most powerful players.
However, the doubters were silenced on Monday night.
NBA officials announced Westbrook was chosen as the 2017 NBA MVP as well as won Best Style and Game Winner of the Year.
Throughout this past season, Westbrook averaged 31.6 points, 10.4 assists and 10.7 rebounds per game.