Westbrook Picks Up the Assist at Homeland

Westbrook Picks Up the Assist at Homeland

Little old ladies covered their mouths in shock. That’s usually their reaction when they see Russell Westbrook do something magnificent and jaw-dropping on the basketball court. Today, it was because he was doing something awe-inspiring off it.

Westbrook slalomed through the meat and produce sections at an Oklahoma City Homeland grocery store on Thursday afternoon, where he helped the Quintana family pick up everything they needed and more for Christmas and the holiday season. While the crowd of Oklahomans who were going about their daily shopping lingered for moments to get a glimpse of Westbrook, snap a quick picture or give him a thumbs up, it was a up close and personal opportunity for the Quintana family to get to know Westbrook, and vice-a-versa.

In his community outreach efforts, Westbrook often explains that the more intimate the event, the more special it is. Events like today’s at homeland provide that precise opportunity: one-on-one time between the Thunder All-Star and a family in need.

“It makes it more comfortable, and it’s better for them,” Westbrook noted. “For me it’s a great thing because I get to know their names, know a little bit about them and what they like.

Priscilla Quintana is a mother of two young girls, and she’s finishing her degree at Emerson High School full-time while also raising her children and taking care of her mother, Rosa. Emerson specializes in alternative education programs, and Principal Jack Reed was the one who nominated Priscilla for the opportunity to shop at Homeland with the Thunder and Westbrook.

“It means the world to me actually,” Priscilla said.

“We went shopping! With Westbrook!” she squeaked.

“We’re proud of our students,” Reed said. “We’re proud of Priscilla and she’s very deserving of this opportunity.”

The Thunder point guard was in true “dad” mode. He took orders on items to go pick up. If something fell off the shelf he chirped, “don’t worry about it!” He even flashed his bright smile and helped calm down Dalalee, the tiny 18-month old tot who was a bit overwhelmed with all the noise and attention.

“She’s always shy with people. It was like she knew him,” Priscilla said of Dalalee and Westbrook. “It was a great experience.”

“That’s the whole process of coming grocery shopping,” Westbrook laughed. “That’s definitely fun for the kids to get a chance to get what they want, and the mother and her mom to get everything they need, especially around the holiday season.”

The family is planning to make tamales for Christmas at Priscilla’s sister’s house, and Westbrook had the pleasure of assisting in their goal of finding all the necessary ingredients. By the end of the afternoon, the grocery carts were packed with meat and vegetables, fruit and cereal and even a few snacks and sweets. With the kids, the only thing that was a bigger hit than the balloons and treats was Westbrook.

“He was cracking some jokes. The girls were getting along with him so well,” Priscilla said.

“With all the accomplishments that he’s made and the impact that he’s made on the Thunder and for Oklahoma City, it’s just great to know that he’s the one that came and was able to shop with my student,” said Principal Reed.


To read more, please go to http://www.nba.com/thunder/community/homeland-westbrook-171221

Join Barneys In Spreading The Love, Peace, And Joy This Holiday Season

Join Barneys In Spreading The Love, Peace, And Joy This Holiday Season

This season at Barneys, we’re feeling the love. And the peace and the joy. That’s because our holiday windows this year are dedicated to those three guiding values: Love, Peace, Joy. And while we can’t wait to share the windows themselves with you after they unveil later this week, you don’t have to wait to get in on the action by participating in an exciting and rewarding social movement, the #LovePeaceJoyProject.

Earlier this year, we celebrated the launch of our own charitable giving arm, the Barneys New York Foundation, which allows us to make the most of our efforts to support education, the arts, and human rights by harnessing the power of our communities. For the holidays, we’re focusing these goals on two very worthy organizations: Amy Schumer and Leesa Evans’ STYLEFUND and the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation. STYLEFUND is aimed at cultivating women’s personal wellbeing by guiding them in finding their own individual style to create true confidence, while the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation reaches into the lives of children, inspiring them to ask “Why not?” and teaching them to never give up.

Both great causes, but what can you do to help? From today through January 3, 2017, we invite you help us spread Love, Peace, and Joy to these amazing organizations by following three easy steps:


Take a photo of yourself expressing love, peace, or joy.

LOVE = Form a heart with your thumbs and forefingers
PEACE = Hold up a peace sign (or two!)
JOY = Jump with joy


Post your photo with us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using the hashtag #LovePeaceJoyProject and tagging @barneysny.


Tag someone who brings you love, peace, and joy to encourage them to take part as well.

It’s as simple as that. And the best part? For every post, the Barneys New York Foundation will donate $5 to the #LovePeaceJoyProject, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting STYLEFUND and the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation. So get snapping, start sharing, and help Barneys spread the Love, Peace, and Joy this holiday season.


To read more, please visit http://thewindow.barneys.com/love-peace-joy-project-barneys-new-york-foundation-holiday-campaign/

Russell Westbrook surprises 13-year-old boy to fulfill Christmas wish

Russell Westbrook surprises 13-year-old boy to fulfill Christmas wish

Russell Westbrook had a pretty standard Monday ahead of him. He’d go to practice that morning, review film of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s overtime win over the Utah Jazz the night before, then that evening he’d attend the annual Holiday Assist charity event where the team buys gifts for underprivileged kids.

But in between, Westbrook had a different Christmas wish to take care of.

Janneh is a 13-year-old boy from Moore, Oklahoma, who has spent the last six months at the Children’s Center Rehabilitation Center in Bethany. He’s there because in June, while riding his bike, a bullet from a drive-by shooting hit him in the neck, crushing his third vertebrae and leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. He has gone through months of surgeries and rehabilitation and is coping with the fact he probably will live the rest of his life a quadriplegic. His one Christmas wish: to meet Russell Westbrook.

And on Monday afternoon, showing up unannounced and entirely by himself, Westbrook met Janneh.

“We literally just got a call that Russell Westbrook was in our lobby ready to see Janneh,” said Melissa Richey, director of communications at the Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital.

No cameras. No handlers. No photo op. Just Westbrook with some signed shoes and an autographed jersey.

“The way that it happened was exactly how it should’ve happened,” Richey said.

“That’s something that, I think, made it even more special because you could tell it wasn’t a publicity stunt,” she said. “It was the kindness out of his own heart to take time out of his day, knowing he had another event that night, to take time to do that was really cool for us to see that.”

Westbrook spent almost an hour at the center talking with Janneh. The normally very talkative 13-year-old was “starstruck,” Richey said, but eventually loosened up to exchange a little smack talk with Westbrook. You see, Janneh is also a big fan of LeBron James, and claims the Cleveland Cavaliers as his favorite team. And the Thunder play the Cavs on Thursday.

“Russ had to do some of the talking to get him going, but once Janneh started getting comfortable, the smack talk started,” Richey said. “It was really funny between the two of them. Russ was such a great sport and gave it to him back. He didn’t hold back with him. It was really fun to watch the two of them together.”

Janneh hasn’t been home since the accident, and before he can return to his house, his family has to raise enough money to renovate the home to be handicap accessible. Working with an organization called ServeMoore, the family is looking to raise $80,000 for a van, to widen the front door to fit his wheelchair through, build a ramp, raise the ceilings in his room and supply a generator.


To read more, please visit http://www.espn.com/blog/okc-thunder/post/_/id/925/russell-westbrook-surprises-13-year-old-boy-to-fulfill-christmas-wish

Russell Westbrook makes largest donation ever to UCLA by a former Bruins basketball player

Russell Westbrook makes largest donation ever to UCLA by a former Bruins basketball player

Russell Westbrook gave plenty to the UCLA basketball program while he was a student-athlete in 2006-08, helping the Bruins reach the Final Four of the NCAA tournament both seasons.

Now an NBA superstar with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Westbrook is still helping his former university — this time financially.

Westbrook has made what UCLA says is the largest financial contribution it has ever received from a former basketball player. His donation will go toward the construction of the Mo Ostin Basketball Center on the Westwood campus, the university said Monday in a statement.

“I loved my time at UCLA and jumped at the opportunity to give back to the University that provided me with amazing opportunities and great memories,” Westbrook said in the statement. “I am truly honored to be part of the legacy that is Bruin basketball.”

The amount of Westbrook’s contribution was not specified, though the university said in the statement that it’s “significant.” UCLA added that more than $17 million in private funds have been raised for the new men’s and women’s basketball practice facility, including the initial $10 million by music industry executive and philanthropist Morris “Mo” Ostin.

The facility’s practice floor will be known as Russell Westbrook Court. Westbrook will also be on hand when he is honored by the Bruins at their Jan. 7 game against the Arizona Wildcats.

“Russell himself is an inspiration,” Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said. “We could not be more proud of his leadership both on and off the court since he left Westwood, and I know the Bruin faithful will be excited to welcome him back home next month and thank him for this tremendous gift.”


To read more, please visit http://www.latimes.com/sports/ucla/uclanow/la-sp-sn-russell-westbrook-ucla-donation-20151214-story.html

Thunder’s Westbrook receives Community Assist Award

Thunder’s Westbrook receives Community Assist Award

 — Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has received the 2014-15 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente in recognition of his countless charitable contributions and efforts, the league announced Tuesday. The award recognizes an NBA player who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities.

NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier and Kaiser Permanente Vice President, External and Community Affairs Yvette Radford will present Westbrook with the David Robinson Plaque during a presentation at the NBA Draft Lottery in New York. Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will also donate $25,000 to Westbrook’s Why Not? Foundation. Launched in 2012, the foundation works to help children facing hardships of any kind, supporting community-based education and family service programs.

In addition to captivating audiences with his record-breaking play this season, Westbrook impacted the lives of Oklahomans with his generosity off the court. After receiving a brand new car for being named the 2015 Kia NBA All-Star MVP, Westbrook worked with Sunbeam Family Services to donate the automobile to Kerstin Gonzalez, a single mother of two children. Click here to watch Westbrook surprise Gonzalez with the new car.

During the 2014-15 season, Westbrook and his Why Not? Foundation opened new reading centers in three Oklahoma City public schools. “Russell’s Reading Rooms” provide underserved children with 1,200 books, engaging students of all ages in reading. Westbrook’s yearlong charitable efforts also included hosting Thanksgiving meals, holiday parties and shopping sprees for Oklahomans in need, granting wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and participating in food packing events, hospital visits and several Thunder FIT clinics.

“As a child, my brother and I were taught to challenge adversity by working harder and asking ourselves ‘why not?'” said Westbrook. “The Why Not? Foundation aims to empower children to overcome their own obstacles and provide them with opportunities to reach their full potential.”

The award was voted on by fans and an NBA panel of judges including past J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award winners, Lanier and Dikembe Mutombo.

To learn more, please visit //www.nba.com/communityassist/.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 10 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

About NBA Cares

NBA Cares is the league’s global social responsibility program that builds on the NBA’s mission of addressing important social issues in the United States and around the world. Through this program, the NBA, its teams and players have donated more than $230 million to charity, completed more than 2.8 million hours of hands-on community service, and created more than 860 places where kids and families can live, learn, or play, in 23 countries and territories on five continents. NBA Cares works with internationally recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes, including: KaBOOM!, Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, UNICEF, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Share Our Strength and GLAAD.

To read more, please go to http://www.nba.com/2015/news/05/19/seasonlong-community-assist-award-russell-westbrook/

Westbrook Surprises Oklahoma City Mother With Car

With her two young boys bopping along right at her heels, 19-year old Kerstin Gonzales raced into the offices at Sunbeam Family Services on Monday, stopping by for a meeting.

After sitting and waiting with her boys for a few minutes, she suddenly sensed a figure stroll behind her chair, and as two large hands tapped her on the shoulder, Gonzales turned around to see Russell Westbrook’s signature wide grin. The initial shock of seeing a Thunder player didn’t last long, because as the Thunder point guard introduced himself, he told Gonzales that he had a surprise for her – a brand new car. At first, Gonzales was skeptical, but as soon as Westbrook pulled the keys out of his pocket, she broke into tears.

“Are they playing a prank on me or something?” Gonzales said of her initial reaction. “When he showed me the keys, I was like ‘this is real’. That’s when I started to cry because it’s been such a hard time.”

“There were definitely tears of joy and I could tell some tears of hard work and all the different things she’s been through in her life,” Westbrook said. “Today was a stepping stone in showing her that everything is going to be alright.”

Gonzales and her two boys, four-year-old Matthew and two-year-old Adam, have had a rough go of things lately. The single mother was just 14 when she got pregnant, as she said, “just a child” when she all of the sudden was forced to be an adult. Gonzales has been the recipient of Sunbeam Family Services assistance for some time now, and has utilize the extra time and what she saves on diapers and other childcare needs by putting herself in a position to graduate from high school this year, work a job and to apply for colleges, where she wants to study forensic science.

Her current car was not in great driving shape and on Monday morning, the engine wouldn’t start. She has been borrowing cars from family and friends to be able to get to work, to get to school and to pick up her sons. To all of the sudden have that burden of worrying about transportation at all times be lifted was a huge weight off her shoulders.

“It’s so touching and so amazing knowing that there are people out there willing to help the ones that are in need,” Gonzales said.

“She has such a good heart,” said Erin Engelke, Sunbeam’s Chief External Relations Officer. “She’s so worthy and so humble. She did not see this coming. We had orchestrated it so that it could be a true surprise and it was for her.”

After Westbrook showed Gonzales the keys to the car, he ushered her and her boys outside to see it. The KIA SUV was actually the car given to Westbrook when he won the Most Valuable Player award for the 2015 All-Star Game in New York City. When he received it, he aimed to find a recipient in the Oklahoma City community that truly needed it. Through the help of the Thunder and Sunbeam, Westbrook found Gonzales, and the planning to surprise her commenced.

“It’s just all the hard work that she’s done to be able to keep her family together,” Westbrook said as to why Gonzales was the perfect person to receive the car. “When you see somebody working hard towards a goal and finding ways every day to keep everything afloat for her two boys and her family, you can’t do anything but help them out.”

Gonzales continued to cry tears of joy, but pulled it together enough to thank Erin Engelke, who helped orchestrate the surprise, along with all of the other employees on hand from Sunbeam who provide services for her and her boys on a regular basis. Sunbeam has been serving the Oklahoma City community for over 100 years, providing assistance to the city’s most vulnerable citizens in early childhood, foster care, counseling and senior services.

“It’s just so wonderful,” Gonzales said. “Sunbeam has helped me so much. It’s crazy because they’ve always been there for me. They’ve always been able to reach out a hand.”

“It means so much to all of us at Sunbeam to be able to give above and being for our clients,” Engelke said. “For her to have one less thing to worry about, by way of a car, is huge.”

The final hug before Gonzales left with her boys was for Westbrook, who won the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for the month of October and has been extremely active in the community through his Why Not? Foundation. All afternoon, Westbrook played and joked with the young boys Matthew and Adam, while comforting Gonzales, whose emotions got the best of her on a few occasions as she tried to wrap her mind around what was happening. For Gonzales, Westbrook’s surprise was life-changing. That’s the type of impact Westbrook wants to bring to as many people as possible in Oklahoma and he’s doing it one person at a time, one day at a time.

“He was a gentleman,” Gonzales said of Westbrook. “He was amazing, he was sweet and so attentive to what I had to say. He’s a really awesome person.”

“I was so touched by the way that he interacted with her,” Engelke said. “He was so gentle, calm and warm. I was completely blown away. He’s a remarkable individual.”

To read more, please go to http://www.nba.com/thunder/community/westbrookcar_150406

Russell Westbrook Receives October NBA Cares Community Assist Award

Russell Westbrook Receives October NBA Cares Community Assist Award

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook received the October NBA Cares Community Assist Award in recognition of his charitable efforts to improve child literacy, the NBA announced today.  The award honors an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players have for giving back to their communities.

In both Oklahoma City and his hometown Los Angeles, Westbrook continues his work to enhance literacy programs.  Last month, Westbrook and the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation opened a new reading center at North Highland Elementary in Oklahoma City.  The facility, named Russell’s Reading Room, was stocked with 1,200 books for all ages, designed to ensure every student is inspired to find something they love to read.  In addition, 450 students at North Highland received a book of their own to take home.

Westbrook formed his foundation in 2012 with the goal of inspiring the lives of children, empowering them to ask “why not?” when faced with rejection and adversity.  The foundation works to help children facing hardships of any kind, giving particular support to community-based education and family service programs.  Westbrook plans to open two additional reading centers in the coming months as his foundation increases its focus on literacy.

“I have been very blessed in my life and believe it is my job to give back to the communities that have given me so much,” said Westbrook.  “I want to provide kids with the guidance and tools to find success, and that starts with literacy and education.  By improving access to books and encouraging children to read, we can help them thrive throughout their educational careers.”

During Sunday’s home game against the Houston Rockets, Westbrook will be presented with the David Robinson Plaque during an oncourt ceremony.  In addition, the NBA will donate $10,000 on Westbrook’s behalf to the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation.

In addition to the monthly NBA Cares Community Assist Awards, the league will present a final 2014-15 Seasonlong Community Assist Award.

To learn more, please log on to http://www.nba.com/cares/.

Russell Westbrook’s Big-Hearted Play!

Russell Westbrook’s Big-Hearted Play!

Reading Room 1Basketball fans know Russell Westbrook for his fierce moves on the court as a point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Besides his flashy style on and off the court, this sports superstar likes to score one for the kids.

Healthy Hollywood loves to discover successful people who never forget to be grateful and are always willing to give back. After all, a generous, kind-heart benefits all of us.

As I learned yesterday from a publicist friend, Russell is one of those guys. The basketball star created The Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting community-based education and family service programs. While, also, encouraging young people to believe in themselves.

This week, as part of his push to help young kids get educated, he opened up his first Russell Reading room at an elementary school in his Oklahoma community. He gave each of the 450 kids a book to jumpstart their reading and challenged the kids to get reading.

“I believe education is the simplest and most direct path towards a better life, so I want to not only motivate these kids to read and get involved in their education, but also to provide them with tools necessary to successfully meet my challenge,” explain Westbrook.

Russell’s Reading Challenge is part of Scholastic’s national Read 100,000 which encourages kids to read and log 100,000 minutes. Russell challenged over 75,000 students of the 147 metro Oklahoma City school to start reading.

Continue Reading…(via Access Hollywood)