Russell Westbrook prolific career, net worth and childhood tragedy as NBA star joins Leeds United takeover

Russell Westbrook is the latest sports star to invest in the 49ers Enterprises ahead of the group taking full control of Leeds United.
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NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook is a name that Leeds United fans will want to get to know this week as the star becomes the latest athlete to join the 49ers Enterprises-led consortium hoping to take full control of the Yorkshire club.

The 34-year-old joined golfers Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in becoming a minor stakeholder of Leeds United but the investment may be a drop in the pond for a basketballer named the world's 14th-highest pair athlete.

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The 49ers Enterprises are currently joint owners of Leeds United having first invested in the club in 2018 and their stake grew from 15% to 44% before a deal to buy the controlling stake of Andrea Radrizzani. However, the English Football League is yet to approve the takeover deal.

Speaking about his business move, Westbrook said: "I was lucky enough to have conversations with some of the partners in this deal, who already have ownership, the 49ers.

"So I was lucky enough to talk through that with friends, talking with my business partner as well about different things and having conversations, figuring out if this was the right deal and how we could make it different."

The deal for 49ers Enterprises to take full control of Leeds was worth £400 million when agreed before relegation but a new valuation of £170 million has been reached.

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Westbrook plays for NBA side the Los Angles Clippers, having signed for the club in February 2023 from the Los Angeles Lakers. The star is a nine-time NBA All-Star and known for his prolific scoring career, finishing the NBA as the top scorer in 2014/15 and 2016/17.

In 2017, Westbrook famously became one of only two played in NBA history to average a triple-double (scoring a double-digit number in three of five stat categories) alongside Oscar Robertson back in 1962.

Russell Westbrook is an NBA superstar (Image: Getty Images)Russell Westbrook is an NBA superstar (Image: Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook is an NBA superstar (Image: Getty Images)

Childhood tragedy

The Long Beach-born star played college basketball for the UCLA Bruins and has represented the United States national team in the past, including at the London 2012 Olympics, in which he was part of the gold-medal winning side.

The star's career is full of highlights now, but he has suffered adversity in the past. When growing up, Westbrook and his best friend Khelcey Barrs had dreamed of going to UCLA and playing basketball together.

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However, Barrs died in a tragic incident caused by an enlarged heart during a game in 2004 and Westbrook vowed to honour his best friend's memory in his own success.

Russell Westbrook net worth

Westbrook was named the 14th-highest earning athlete in the world by Forbes in 2023, beating golfers Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, as well as F1's Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

The basketball player was reported to have a total earnings of $82.1 million with $47.1 million of this coming from on-the-field salary and $35 million from off-the-field earnings.

Only four basketball players appeared above Westbrook in the table with LeBron James the highest at fourth. Cristiano Ronaldo was the top earner with $136 million earnings.

Westbrook is reported to have a net worth of $200 million, which is equivalent to £153 million.