NEW YORK (AP) — Russell Westbrook moved past Oscar Robertson and kept right on going to the top of the NBA.
Westbrook was voted MVP on Monday night after setting a record with 42 triple-doubles during his historic season. He led the league with 31.6 points and added 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game, joining Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double for the season and breaking Robertson’s single-season record of 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62.
“I remember growing up just being home, playing the video games and stuff with my pops, and my mom sitting there and my brother and just talking about maybe one day I could be the MVP. Obviously I was joking at the time,” Westbrook said.
“But now to be standing here with this trophy next to me is a true blessing, man, and it’s an unbelievable feeling, something that I can never imagine.”
Westbrook’s victory ended the first NBA Awards show, which included two wins apiece for the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks.
He received 69 first-place votes and 888 points from a panel of 100 media members and a fan vote to easily beat Houston’s James Harden, who had 22 first-place votes and 753 points. Kawhi Leonard was third with nine first-place votes and 500 points.
Westbrook succeeded Stephen Curry, who had won the past two MVP awards. The point guard who plays with defiance on the court got choked up during an acceptance speech in which he brought some teammates onto the stage with him.
The Thunder went 33-9 when he had a triple-double, riding Westbrook’s record run into the playoffs in their first season after losing Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors.
“Oscar, guys like him, Magic Johnson, those guys, obviously I wasn’t able to see those guys play, but just to look back at history and see the things that they did, it’s something that I looked up to as a kid,” Westbrook said.
“I never thought I would be able to say that I broke Oscar Robertson’s record, and that’s just a true blessing.”
Earlier, Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon became the first player not picked in the first round to win NBA Rookie of the Year in the common draft era, beating out Philadelphia’s Dario Saric and Joel Embiid.
Brogdon was the No. 36 overall selection out of Virginia. The common draft era began in 1966.
“I think it’s an example for guys that are told they are too short, they are not athletic enough, they are not real point guards, they are not real shooting guards,” Brogdon said. “I just think it’s an important message for people to see, and it can be done. It just takes a lot.”
Teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Improved Player award.
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