Dec 15, 2015 01:07 PM EST
Russell Westbrook Gives $1 Million to UCLA Basketball Program
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is getting a basketball facility at the University of California, Los Angeles named after him.
Westbrook donated $1 million to the school where he played his college ball, the largest gift from a UCLA men's basketball player, according to The Los Angeles Times.
"Russell isn't merely a dominant force in the NBA, he's a force to be reckoned with in the community as well," UCLA Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero said in a statement. "While his Why Not? Foundation's mission is to inspire the lives of children and teach them to never give up, the fact of the matter is, having witnessed firsthand and from afar his growth over the years, Russell himself is an inspiration. 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."
The Why Not? Foundation aims to empower children facing various hardships to achieve their goals. In one instance, Westbrook gave the car he won as the NBA's All Star Game MVP to a needing 19-year-old mother of two who was also working and applying to colleges.
Westbrook's donation will help fund the Mo Ostin Basketball Center, and in return the facility's practice court will bear his name. UCLA will publicly thank Westbrook and his wife Nina, also a former UCLA basketball player, at the Bruins' conference home opener against Arizona on Jan. 7. The school will give fans "eyeglass frames," a staple in Westbrook's post-game attire.
Westbrook played two seasons at UCLA, helping the Bruins reach the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament both years. The Long Beach native was selected fourth overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Seattle Supersonics, who later moved to Oklahoma City and were renamed the Thunder. He is playing his eighth season in the NBA and has developed into one of the best point guards in the league.
"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."
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