As the NBA MVP debate rages on, the choice is obvious for New England Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater.

The NFL offseason has given Slater plenty of time to sit around and watch fellow UCLA product Russell Westbrook accomplish some record-setting feats on the basketball court.

“I got a chance to meet Russell when we were in school and just a classy kid, the way he carries himself,” Slater said. “I think all of us would be lying if we said we thought that he would be doing what he’s doing now, but that’s just the type of competitor he’s been since Day 1 at UCLA. It’s been fun to watch his journey, grow into who I think should be the MVP of the league this year. I couldn’t be more proud. I’ve told about 30 people that he went to UCLA around here. Make sure I keep reminding them of that.”

Westbrook averaged a triple-double this season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s competing with the Houston Rockets’ James Harden, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James and the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard for NBA MVP.

Slater, 31, and Westbrook, 28, had a two-year overlap at UCLA. Slater was selected in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft while Westbrook was chosen fourth overall in the 2008 NBA Draft.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images