As told to Christina M. Tapper
After a hot summer day of amusement park rides or playing AAU basketball, Russell Westbrook loved indulging in slushies while growing up in Los Angeles, California. "Drinking them was my favorite way to cool off," Westbrook recalls. "It was a nice treat after being so hot."
Nowadays, slushies can't cool down the sizzling fifth-year Oklahoma City Thunder point guard. Although a knee injury sidelined the three-time All-Star during this year's playoffs, Westbrook's dynamic style of play has earned him praise around the league and propelled the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012. Westbrook shares some of his fondest summer memories with SI KIDS.
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"My family took vacations during the summers. We'd usually go to San Diego. We'd go to the zoo and SeaWorld. I loved to see the lions. I was always amazed by all the animals."
The Joke's On You
"I played AAU basketball during the summer. We'd travel all over. During our trips, my teammates and I would pull pranks on each other. When I was about 14, my friend and I pulled a really cold prank. We got extra keys to everyone's room during check in. Then when everyone was asleep, like around two o'clock in the morning, my friend and I went into the rooms and gently placed some ice on our teammates' faces. The next day, during breakfast, my teammates were talking about how someone came into their rooms and put ice on them. I'd play along and say, 'Someone did the same thing to me!' Nobody knew it was us. It's still a secret today."
"When I was younger, I was scared to get on roller coasters. I was 11 and realized I just didn't like them. By the time I got to high school, I got over the fear. When Goliath opened at Six Flags, I faced my fear. Everyone else lined up to go on it, so I followed all the other kids because I didn't want to be the only one left behind. The scary part about the roller coaster is the clicking noise when you're going up. You just hear click, click, click, click, click. And then you're just whipping around. Once it was over, I was like, that's not too bad."
"I was a part of my local Boys and Girls Club from age nine to about 17. We'd take field trips once a summer. It was so much fun. After I conquered my fear of roller coasters, Gold Rusher at Six Flags [Magic Mountain] became my favorite amusement park ride as a kid. It's a ride you can get on 10 times and never get tired of. I remember there were a lot of dips and it was dark, so you really couldn't see what was going on."
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"I loved to eat ribs, hamburgers, and french fries as a kid. Those are my favorite summer foods, and I'd get so full. Oh, and the slushies! I love those."
Picture courtesy of the Westbrook family