2015 NBA All-Star MVP Russell Westbrook gave his prize, a KIA SUV, to Kerstin Gonzalez, a 19-year-old single mother of two boys, on April 6.
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook gave his 2015 NBA All-Star MVP prize, a KIA SUV, to a single mother on April 6.
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According to Nick Gallo of the Thunder's official website, Westbrook handed the car over to 19-year-old Kerstin Gonzalez, a mother of two boys, at the Sunbeam Family Services office in Oklahoma City.
Gallo stresses Westbrook wanted to give the car to someone who really needed it in the Oklahoma City area. The Thunder got in touch with Sunbeam, who, in turn, recommended Gonzalez.
Gonzalez told Gallo she initially thought she was the victim of a prank, until she saw Westbrook hand her the car keys:
"Are they playing a prank on me or something? 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.
"It's so touching and so amazing knowing that there are people out there willing to help the ones that are in need.
"It's just so wonderful. 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.
"He (Wesbrook) was a gentleman. He was amazing, he was sweet and so attentive to what I had to say. He's a really awesome person."
For his part, Westbrook declared this will be start of Gonzalez's good fortune, per the Thunder's official website:
"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.
"It's just all the hard work that she's done to be able to keep her family together. 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."
Gonzalez has two children: Four-year-old Matthew and two-year-old Adam. She was just 14 years old when she gave birth to Matthew and has been relying on assistance from Sunbeam Family Services for quite some time, per Gallo.
Russell wanted to honor "all the hard work she's done to keep her family together. I just want to be able to help others any way I can."— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) April 6, 2015
Gonzalez aims to graduate from high school this year and eventually enroll in a college or university to major in forensic science, Gallo adds.
Her car has not been in great shape lately -- the engine wouldn't even rev up on Monday. Because of her predicament, she has to borrow cars in order to go to work and school as well as pick up her two sons. Now that she has a new car, all of her transportation-related concerns have been solved, per Gallo.
Gallo goes into greater detail on how Westbrook has been a tremendous asset to the local community:
"The final hug before Gonzalez 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 Gonzalez, whose emotions got the best of her on a few occasions as she tried to wrap her mind around what was happening.
"For Gonzalez, 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."
According to the Thunder's official website, Sunbeam has been helping Oklahoma City's citizens for more than 100 years in the areas of early childhood, foster care, counseling and senior services.
In another development, Westbrook could find himself in one of the closest scoring title races in league history against the Houston Rockets' James Harden, per ESPN's Marc Stein. When Harden scored 41 points and Westbrook tallied 40 points of his own on April 5, the former upped his scoring average to 27.5 points per game while the latter's checked in at 27.46 points per game.
The closest scoring title race occurred during the 1977-78 NBA season, when the San Antonio Spurs' George Gervin edged the Denver Nuggets' David Thompson by a mere 0.07 points-per-game average, per ESPN.
As a matter of fact, Thursday, April 9 marks the 37th anniversary of that seasons regular-season finale. On that day, Thompson scored 73 points. Gervin, needing 58 points to surpass Thompson on the scoring leaderboard, erupted for 63 points against the then-New Orleans Jazz, per Stein.
Stein stresses Westbrook winning this season's scoring title would mark just the second time in league history when two players from the same team led the NBA in scoring for two straight seasons. 2013-14 Westbrook's teammate, NBA MVP Kevin Durant, was the league's scoring champ last season when he averaged 32.0 points per game.
Paul Arizin and Neil Johnston last pulled it off in 1952 and 1953 as teammates with the then-Philadelphia Warriors, per Stein.
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