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Thunder’s Russell Westbrook wins Most Valuable Player award

Russell Westbrook, Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has been named the Most Valuable Player of the 2016-17 season, edging out fellow candidates James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs in one of the most competitive races in recent memory.

Westbrook averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists, and 1.6 steals, becoming the first player to average a triple-double for a season since Oscar Robertson did so during the 1961-62 season.

The 6-foot-3 All-Star point guard also managed to edge out Robertson’s 55-year-old record of 41 triple-doubles in a season, one-upping his performance with the now-record 42 in a campaign — impressively pulling it off in 9.7 fewer minutes per game.

Westbrook made the most of the departure of Kevin Durant and set out on a road to one of the most spectacular regular seasons in NBA history, single-handedly powering the Thunder to sixth place in the Western Conference and ultimately the postseason.

Upon receiving his award, Westbrook was inevitably choked up after mentioning his family, a key support system throughout his career, and even more so to his brother, to which he dedicated a special thank you in his speech.

Westbrook will be offered a contract extension this offseason, one that can net him $207 million through five years should he choose to sign it come July 1.