Westbrook Meets Obama, Visits China

From touring China to having dinner with President Barack Obama to playing on the basketball courts in Santa Monica, Calif., Thunder guard Russell Westbrook has had quite an eventful summer.

The Los Angeles native kicked things off with a trip through China as part of the NBA Jam Van. When he returned, his agent, Arn Tellem, had invited Westbrook to have dinner with President Obama at the Beverley Hills Hotel, where the president spoke at a fundraiser.

In an interview with THUNDER.NBA.COM, Westbrook spoke about China, Obama and more.

What was it like to have dinner with the President?
“It was good. We got to meet him for 20 seconds, not too long. Just get his picture. It was nice. It was nice to meet him and interact a little bit. But we didn’t really get a chance to talk to him at all. You’ve just got to run through and take a picture. You know how that goes with the President. But he spoke for a good 15 minutes or so.”

What was your initial reaction when you found out you’d be in the company of the President?
“I thought it was a good opportunity for me to go. There was a nice crowd there and different types of people to meet. It was good for me.”

How would you sum up your visit to China?
“That was real fun. It was a new experience for me to go and see a different side of things. It was exciting.”

What will you remember the most about that visit?
“I wouldn’t say I remember one particular thing but I think overall it was nice to interact with the kids and see how they play and interact.”

How was the NBA Jam Van received in China?
“It was really nice. I’ve never seen anything like that and how much support they had with all the kids coming out. They look forward to that every year.”

How did you end up going to China in the first place?
“I found out during the season. I knew what was going on. It’s just doing different stuff for the NBA and Nike.”

Did you try any Chinese cuisine?
“Oh, no. I didn’t try any of that. I stuck with regular food.”

How were you treated? Did people know who you were?
“A little bit. Once I spoke for a little bit and was there for a couple of days they probably figured me out. Me walking around, I’m kind of taller than everybody around there, so they were trying to figure it out.”

Did you do any cool sightseeing?
“I did some shopping, walked around a few towns, saw some building and how they live. It was cool.”

What else have you been doing this off-season?
“Nothing much. Just back home in L.A., enjoying that.”

How have basketball workouts been going?
“I workout by myself and I’ve been working out for a long time now. Some days I do different places but mainly I’m in Santa Monica.”

How often do you keep in touch with your Thunder teammates?
“All the time. Just see what they’re doing and what’s going on with them. I talk to them all the time.”

How much are you looking forward to Summer League?
“I’m just going to go through it like any other practice or Summer League like last year. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen.”

Contact Chris Silva