Russell Westbrook’s “Rock the Baby” Taunt Is the NBA’s Hottest Infantilization Fad

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 01:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts after a dunk against the Charlotte Hornets during their game at Spectrum Center on November 1, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook is an adult. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Russell Westbrook has been in the NBA for 10 years, but he still takes offense whenever someone tries to guard him. On Tuesday, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley had the audacity to play defense against Westbrook, and the Oklahoma City star brushed by him for the bucket. Perturbed by Beverley’s insufficient attempt, Westbrook then pantomimed the act of cradling a baby to sleep as he trotted back on defense.

“Yeah, you got little kids, you got little babies, put ‘em to sleep,” Westbrook said about the celebration after the game . “That’s what happens. Little guards, you gotta rock ‘em.”

Sleep training is a big issue amongst parenting experts these days, though Westbrook is the only one to address it in regards to full-grown NBA players. On Friday, he continued his fatherly approach to the point guard position by giving both members of the Washington Wizards’ backcourt glasses of warm milk during the Thunder’s 134-111 blowout win. John Wall and Bradley Beal are both listed as being taller than Westbrook, but that didn’t stop him from rocking them each to sleep in the third quarter.

Westbrook’s infantilization of opponents has caught on elsewhere in the league. Klay Thompson is known for his long-range shooting and quirky brand of stoicism, but he broke character on Friday when he backed down Minnesota Timberwolves’ guard Tyus Jones in the paint and proceeded to send him to the Land of Nod. Congratulations, Tyus Jones, you are now a baby.

The celebration has already become a cross-sport fad and found its way into college football. On Saturday, Iowa State receiver Hakeem Butler plucked the ball from the clutches of a diminutive Kansas defender and rocked the baby in the end zone.

There is not much you can do after someone mimes the act of rocking your little infant self to sleep. The sole recourse is to put your head down, get through life, and eventually grow old enough to where you can comfortably start a family of your own. At that point, you will learn the responsibility that comes with having a child. Getting it to sleep is but one chore. You also have to feed, clothe, teach, and guide it through this complicated and often scary world. Only then will you truly understand the work that goes into child-rearing. Only then will you be able to appreciate all that Russell Westbrook did for you.