Russell Westbrook was born in Long Beach, California. His parents are Russell Westbrook and Shannon Horton. He has one younger brother, Raynard, and has said that he admires former Los Angeles Lakers great Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Growing up in Lawndale, Westbrook had a childhood friend named Khelcey Barrs, a talented young small forward who had been attracting interest from major college basketball schools as a 6-foot-6, 200 pound high school sophomore. However, Barrs collapsed and died from cardiomegaly after playing a series of late night basketball games in 2004.
Westbrook entered Leuzinger High School as an unexpected 5-foot-8, 140-pound freshman point guard with size 14 shoes, not starting on the varsity team until his junior year. He did not receive his first college recruiting letter until the summer before his senior year. Westbrook eventually reached his adult height at 6′3″ that same summer.