3. No pouting from Russell
For all the talk from babbling heads such as Fox Sports 1’s Doug Gottlieb about D’Angelo Russell’s bad attitude, poor work ethic, being a locker-room cancer, et al, the Brooklyn Nets point guard sure seems to be happy when his team wins even when he hasn’t had a particularly good night himself.
Wednesday was one of those games for Russell, who scored 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting and was just 2-for-7 from 3-point range in 28 minutes.
He did dish out seven assists, but as Spencer Dinwiddie was leading epic comebacks for the Nets in the fourth quarter and in overtime, Russell was on the bench.
Not sulking, not pouting, not being a bad teammate. No, Russell was in the role of head cheerleader as Dinwiddie and the Nets climbed back from an 11-point deficit in the final 2:29 of regulation to force overtime and erased a seven-point hole in the OT to get a wild win.
And when it was over, and Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen were being interviewed by Michael Grady on YES Network, Russell kept the celebration going.
But the comments from Gottlieb on social media Tuesday underscore a growing trend in a sports media scene dominated these days by professional hot-take mavens.
Russell made some mistakes as a young player with the Los Angeles Lakers, mistakes he has acknowledged and tried to move on from.
But those narratives — that Russell is a bad teammate, that he doesn’t work hard, that he doesn’t try on defense — continue to hound Russell like a pack of rabid dogs, even with mountains of evidence to the contrary on all of those points.
The problem with the TV and radio talk hosts who drive so much of the narrative in sports media is this: Because they comment on every sport out there, they sometimes don’t do their requisite homework.
So instead, they stay with the lazy narrative, because it’s all they know. How many Brooklyn Nets games do you think Doug Gottlieb has actually seen this season? It it’s not zero, it’s close.
Otherwise, he wouldn’t have parroted everything that was said about Russell after he was traded from the Lakers to the Nets nearly two years ago.
D’Angelo Russell didn’t have a great night against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. His team, however, picked up a great win. And at least to the naked eye, that seemed to be what Russell thought was important.
Narratives be damned.