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Naming Russell Westbrook MVP Would Set A Terrible Example For Kids

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Children are the future. I’m pretty sure that’s a fact. In a world that becomes increasingly evil and corrupt by the day, it’s more important than ever to teach our kids sound morals and arm them with as many positive role models as possible. That’s why naming Russell Westbrook MVP of the NBA would be a grievous error and spell disaster for generations to come.

Basketball is a team sport. Everybody knows that. There is no “I” in “team.” Everybody knows that, too. Do we want to teach impressionable children that individual statistics and accolades are more important than team success? That goes against everything I learned as a youngster playing church league hoops. Do we want our kids to grow up idolizing ball hogs and selfish stat chasers? I don’t think so, bro. There’s a reason Carmelo Anthony has never won MVP, or a championship, and just got separated from his wife.

Every year, somewhere around the All-Star break, a worldwide debate begins over who should be named MVP of the NBA. The tighter the race, the more annoying that debate becomes as it drags on for months, dominating headlines, taking over ESPN, and being discussed by simple-minded commentators like Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley before, during and after every single game. This year, two players in particular have been the focus of incessant deliberation: Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

Westbrook had one of the most incredible offensive regular seasons in history. That goes without saying. However, the general public (same people who voted for Donald Trump) has become enamored with the fact that he tallied 42 triple-doubles over the course of 82 games. Unfortunately, he did it while shooting a lower percentage from the field than Harden, and his team accumulated 8 fewer wins as a consequence of his personal achievement. Sad!

James Harden also had a statistically historic season, but he did it while consistently making his teammates better, leading the Houston Rockets to wildly outperform pre-season expectations and secure the third best record in the NBA. How did he accomplish this? By being the embodiment of an unselfish player. If you watched the Rockets this season, you know James routinely passed on the opportunity to score himself in order to set his teammates up with open shots. As a result, he led the league in assists. Yet he still averaged an astonishing 29.1 points per game.

Before this season started, Harden took on a completely new role at the behest of his new coach by assuming the point guard position, which he had never played, just so he could give his team a better chance to win. And win they did. That’s called sacrificing for the greater good (a lesson that much of the world could benefit from). He plays efficient team basketball and is the heart and soul of one of the most effective offenses in the history of the NBA. Facts only. Nothing in this column is debatable.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m choosing between Westbrook and Harden to have my 4-year-old model his game after, I’m going with Harden, because I want my son to be a winner.

Whether you like it or not, this is yet another moral fork in the road for America. I, for one, won’t stand idly by and watch as the values of our youth are trampled on by triple-double obsessed fools who have lost their way. Sports are about winning, and when it comes to these two MVP candidates, Harden did much more of that. The participation trophy generation had their time in the spotlight; it’s time to take back our country and our integrity.

If we want Most Valuable Player to become nothing more than a vanity award serving as ammunition for marketing nerds employed by the brands a player endorses, by all means go ahead and give the award to Russell Westbrook, and, in doing so, crush the futures of so many innocent basketball-loving inner city kids. But if we care about and truly want our children and our children’s children to grow up with principles that give them the best chance to succeed in life, James Harden should be named MVP. It’s also important to remember that James Harden has a beard. You know who else has a beard? Jesus.

The ballots have already been cast, and now it’s only a matter of time before our fate as a sports people is revealed. All we can do is wait and pray. In the meantime, if you’re one of the careless buffoons who cast a first place vote for Russell Westbrook, kindly remove yourself from society and live out your remaining days in the wilderness. Do it for the kids whose lives you might have carelessly ruined.

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Ross Bolen

Ross Bolen is a New York Times Bestselling author, co-host of the Oysters, Clams & Cockles: Game of Thrones podcast, co-host of the Back Door Cover sports podcast, 2017 Masters attendee, bigger and more loyal Rockets, Astros and Texans fan than you, cheese enchilada aficionado, and nap god.

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