Former Champion Disses the Toxicity of Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Other Trophy-Less NBA Stars

Published 09/30/2021, 3:00 PM EDT
Sep 8, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook (left) celebrates with guard James Harden (13) after dunking against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of game three in the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


As professional athletes, titles are what every player competes for. Yet, some sporting memories go way beyond just trophies. Numerous greats of the NBA are yet to register a winning moment till date. Two of the biggest names in this list, are those of Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Although they are league veterans now, they have failed to capture a ring.

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While Westbrook began his NBA career in 2008, Harden has featured since 2009. Initially, ‘the beard’ kick-started his career with the Thunder, where Westbrook had his best days. However, Harden’s dominance was encapsulated in his run with the Houston Rockets. The duo have had glittering careers, but never managed to gather a trophy along the way. On the contrary, former NBA Champion James Posey opines that it is not as necessary as it looks, for such players to add a title to make their careers look meaningful.

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Jul 20, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) celebrates with the Larry O’Brien Trophy after game six of the 2021 NBA Finals and the championship against the Phoenix Suns at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

James Posey feels Russell Westbrook, Harden and others give undue importance to rings

44-year-old Posey is a former player of the NBA. He has also worked as an assistant coach post his playing days. During the course of his career, Posey won two trophies in the league, in 2006 and 2008. He had a largely successful career spanning over a decade. Yet, the 2-time champion feels that the current generation of players define their success based on the rings they acquire.

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Speaking with BasketballNews.com about the toxicity of ring culture in basketball, the writer laid out that the current generation over-emphasizes only on titles. Instead, he feels that they need to focus their attention to the all-round game; especially players like Harden and Westbrook who’ve never gotten their hands on the title. “Somewhere along the way,” opined Posey, “it seems like an entire generation of basketball players were led to believe that their careers were meaningless without a championship.”

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Do you also believe in the existence of toxic ring culture among the current generation? Another question here is, does it only exist among today’s players? Nevertheless, it will be a huge box ticked if one the trophy-less big boys can acquire one in the upcoming season.

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

314 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is a tennis and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, football, and table tennis. Apart from his professional desires, Sankalp does voluntary service with his friends to feed hungry animals on a regular basis.

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