To Play With Rondo Is To Know Him

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To Play With Rondo Is To Know Him

Post by bobheckler on Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:33 pm

An inside look at Rondo: To play with him is to know him

November 30, 2012, 2:11 am

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Reaction to Rondo's 2 game suspensionRajon Rondo and several other Celtics players react to Rajon receiving a 2 game suspension for the brawl against Brooklyn.

Doc Rivers calls his team 'soft'Doc Rivers was not shy about how he felt about his team's performance on Wednesday, and referred to his team as 'soft'

Rajon Rondo doesn't blur the line between his
teammates and his opponents. If you are a member of the Boston Celtics,
you're in. If you wear a different uniform, though, forget it.

Rondo is focused on the players who sit within in the walls of the Celtics
locker room. He is constantly watching his teammates -- "Give him five
minutes to cool down," he told reporters on Wednesday after Avery
Bradley took a seat following his pregame workout -- and makes it no
secret that he wants them to feel comfortable in the confines of their
own quarters.

The often tight-lipped point guard is not one to flaunt his friendship with players on other teams,
either. Take Kendrick Perkins for example. Rondo and Perkins have been
best friends dating back to Rondo's rookie season six years ago. Both
players were crushed when Perkins was traded to the Oklahoma City
Thunder in 2011. But when asked if he planned to see Perkins when he
arrived in Boston prior to last week's game at the TD Garden, Rondo
downplayed their bond, pointing out Perkins' current squad and noting,
"I don't mess with him anymore." (Perkins laughed when told of Rondo's
response, unfazed by his friend's camouflaged answer.) He also doesn't
make a big deal out of his longstanding friendship with Atlanta Hawks
Josh Smith which began as teenagers at Oak Hill Academy.

On Thursday, Rondo earned a two-game suspension for fighting the
Brooklyn Nets' Kris Humphries following Humphries' post-whistle foul
against Kevin Garnett. He heated up when he saw his big brother figure
go down, losing his cool, his composure, and his professionalism in that
moment. What he didn't lose sight of, though, was his allegiance to his

To play with Rondo is to know him. The 26-year-old can be stubborn, moody, and challenging at
times. But for those who spend 82 games a season with him, they see a
different side that is only exposed to those who don green and white.


Brandon Bass took a seat in the upper level of the Celtics practice facility to
watch his new team on the court below. He had been traded from the
Orlando Magic days earlier and was getting his first glimpse of the
Celtics system in action. Bass was observing the X's and O's when he was
handed a basketball.

"Someone brought me a ball from Rondo," Bass recalled to "He threw a ball up to me
just letting me know be ready, that he’s going to be getting me the
ball. It made me feel more welcome knowing that my teammates were
excited to have me. That was cool. He definitely makes it easier on me
by finding me (on the court). It wasn’t hard for him to find me -- he
knew I liked my shot within a 15 to 17-foot range. It didn’t take long."

Rondo has taken on the role of both team greeter and recruiter. When Courtney
Lee was weighing his options this summer, he was pleasantly surprised
to receive phone calls and text messages from Rondo. Although the two
were not friends off the court -- they knew each other through the
basketball circuit and mutual friends in Kentucky where they attended
college -- Rondo made a strong effort make his future lockermate feel

"He called me during free agency and expressed that he wanted me to come here," Lee said. "It was, 'What’s
up, how are you doing' for the most part. Then he got into it, 'You can
fill this role, we can do this, we can do that. Ultimately the
decision’s up to you, so we’d love to have you here.' It influenced my
decision a lot. Playing with people that you already know and then the
caliber of players that are here, it definitely made an impact.

"After getting here, we’ve been communicating, building a relationship on and
off the court. Then on the court, if you’re open in the right spots he’s
getting it to you. That’s the best thing a point guard can do for you."

Now in his seventh NBA season, Rondo is one of the veterans on the Celtics
after playing with three future Hall of Famers in his early 20's. Rather
than brushing rookies to the side, he embraces the younger players as
they enter the league.

Two seasons ago, Avery Bradley battled with shyness and hesitancy around his older teammates.
Rondo made it a point to let the then 19-year-old know that he was
supporting his career.

"Probably the thing that stood out the most was when I was in the D-League, he wasn’t able
to come, but he randomly offered to come to my game," said Bradley, who
spent time with the Maine Red Claws. "He tried, but at the last minute
he wasn’t able to. Just the fact that he wanted to come watch me when I
was in the D-League, that stands out the most. I was just surprised at
first. I was like, ‘Dang, it really shows that my teammates care about
me and my development.’ That meant a lot to me being a young guy that
wasn’t that close with or didn’t really get that much love from the
older guys because they were trying to see what kind of person I was and
I had to gain their respect. That coming from him meant a lot to me."

This season Rondo is also making rookie Jared Sullinger, 20, feel welcome.
During the team's preseason trip to Europe, Rondo began involving
Sullinger in drills that helped his transition to the team.

"You hardly ever see a rookie be part of a veteran point guard’s routine
after practice and during warmups," said Sullinger. "I think it started
in Turkey. He was over shooting and I just decided to set a pick. After a
while he kept hitting me on the pop and had me shoot. Then we had
somebody pass me the ball, so that’s been our routine every time. It's a
blessing to be in this situation."

Rondo's interactions are team-wide, as well. This summer he organized a west
coast trip prior to the start of training camp to get an early start on
workouts and the chemistry-building process. After all the teammates
Jason Terry has played with over the years, he never had one present him
with an invitation like this.

"I’ve been in the league 14 years and I’ve never done that," Terry said. "As an NBA
player, I thought that was huge of him. It shows how great of a leader
he is and it shows how important it is to him for us to win. That
promotes winning by what he did in that instance. He called me
personally and said, ‘This is what I’m trying to get together. Are you
in?’ I said, ‘No doubt. Whatever you do, I’m behind you 100 percent.’

"First I had to think about my wife and see if she was going to let me go
(laughs), but after listening to him it was a no-brainer. I’m a family
man, I’ve got kids, so it was tough to get away, but anything for this
team and for Rajon, I’m here to do it."

During the season, Rondo continues to be one of the Celtics social organizers.
Whether in his own home or at a restaurant, he tries to round up his
teammates for group dinners. These meals serve as an opportunity to
simply talk to one another and form relationships that can strengthen
their play on the court.

"We’ve had dinners, multiple dinners which he has paid for," said Jeff Green. "He has
cookouts and dinners at his house sometimes. I would say overall the
dinners (are the best thing he does as a teammate) because it’s just us
together enjoying one another’s company. We’ve done it on the road and
in Boston. It comes in spurts. It’s not something like, we have a trip
to Orlando coming up and he’ll organize a dinner there. It’s something
where we’re on the bus headed to the hotel in Orlando and he’ll say,
‘Let’s go to dinner.’ It’s not planned all out. We take turns paying,
but he prompts it.

"That’s great being able to spend time with each other and learning more about JET (Terry) or
Courtney or Weezy (Chris Wilcox). Most of the time it’s the entire team,
only players. It builds a lot of trust just getting to know one


Rondo will serve his suspension on Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers
and Saturday against the Milwaukee Bucks. His absence, the consequences
of his actions in defense of his teammate, could hurt the Celtics. But
don't expect this retaliation to affect his teammates' opinion of him.

"A lot of media has put out stuff like he's not a good teammate, he
doesn't get along, all that stuff," Lee told earlier this
season. "Me being here, I think all that's false. Everyone in the locker
room gets along with each other, everybody's cool, he's a good guy. He
practices hard every day. He's always trying to get a win."



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Re: To Play With Rondo Is To Know Him

Post by mrkleen09 on Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:51 pm

After the game Donny Marshall said Rondo was immature and that starting a fight is "not what being a Celtic is about". On the other end of the spectrum is Tommy Heinsohn, who said - "I'll tell ya, I want Rondo on my side. You hit my partner in the mouth while he's shooting the ball, you gotta deal with me."

Donny Marshall was an average player in the NBA, who is equally mediocre as a commentator. Tommy is a HOF player, coach and broadcaster. Their reactions to the Rondo fight clearly mirror those differences.

I would like to see Rondo use better judgment in the future....but sometimes, you mess with the bull - you get the horns. If you want Rondo on your team, complete with all the fire, drive and desire that goes with him...sometimes, you have to deal with him flying off the handle.

That kind of fire is EXACTLY what being a Celtic is all about. Bird did it. McHale did it. Cowens did it. Max did it. DJ did it. Hell even Jerry Sichting did it.

I will take the fire and the chance it boils over on rare occasions any day - over an apathetic, show up and punch the time clock player.


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Re: To Play With Rondo Is To Know Him

Post by tjmakz on Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:17 pm

I don't agree that in order for Rondo to be as good as he is, that you have to accept his occasional emotional outbursts which leads to suspensions. He would still be the same player that he is if he was able to keep his temper in check. When Rondo pushes opponents, throws the ball at the referee or bumps a referee, these are separate from drive and desire. These are from lack of self control and/or being caught up in the moment.

We don't see Garnett, Kobe or LeBron act out like Rondo does and they have as much drive and desire as Rondo does.

When Rondo acts out like this, it hurts his team. What if a full scale brawl broke out and players were suspended for 10-15 games? When Rondo, Artest, Rasheed, Spreewell or others act out, I feel it hurts their teammates. Doc stated what Rondo did was not toughness.

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Re: To Play With Rondo Is To Know Him

Post by Sam on Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:47 pm


That's a tough call. Rondo plays with a sort of fire that can't be taught. It didn't take me long in life to learn that, for the most part (not always), a certain trait can contribute to both positive and negative outcomes. It's a classic case of taking the bad with the good. And, ever since I chose a vocation involved the study of people (50 years now), I've had that perception reinforced time after time. It has affected marital relations ("I love the fact that he has incredible empathy for people, but I hate the fact that he has a wandering eye"), kids in school ("You child has amazing creativity, but he's very messy and disorganized"), the work force ("You give everything you have to the company, but why do you have to be so antisocial?"), etc.

And the situation in which this phenomenon causes something more than a ripple of distress involves cases in which the positive manifestations of the trait are unusually strong. Because the negative manifestations can sometimes be proportionately strong.

If the Celtics are concerned that Rondo can't easily discriminate in how to use his inner fire in his basketball performance versus his non-performance actions, I bet they'd fairly easily find a quick way to get rid of him.


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