Amid all the flashes of brilliance on the court by Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, there have been a number of incidents involving Rondo that have been controversial, counterproductive, or downright foolish. He's been called a punk and petulant nearly as often as he's been called talented and terrific, so much so that chalking his actions up to “Rondo Being Rondo,” has become a part of the Boston sports lexicon.
Rondo’s latest incident was taking on the Nets’ Kris Humphries after Humphries committed a hard foul on Celtics center Kevin Garnett just before halftime of a game Nov. 28 at TD Garden. The ensuing fracas involved players from both teams and spilled into the stands. Rondo, Humphries and the Nets’ Gerald Wallace were all ejected, and Rondo was later suspended for two games.
Take a look at other moments, both good and bad, that fit the “Rondo Being Rondo” classification. Next
Friction with Rondo plays role in Allen’s departure
Friction between Rondo and fellow guard Ray Allen, which Allen said began in 2009, ultimately played a role in Allen deciding to leave the Celtics and sign with the Heat after the 2012 season.
Allen said their relationship began to fall apart when they were reported to be part of a trade to Phoenix in 2009 and Allen called Rondo about it. Then, as Rondo became a more prominent player in the Celtics’ offense, Allen’s role began to diminish, and Allen reportedly believed Rondo overlooked him at times on the court. Next
A legendary performance
Despite Rondo’s penchant for shining on the national stage (at least 17 of his 23 career triple-doubles have come in games on national TV) no game better displayed his all-around skills than Game 2 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals vs. the Heat. Although the Celtics lost in overtime, Rondo was the brightest star on a court filled with elite players, including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce.
“He put the whole team on his shoulders,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “It’s tough to have him play that way and not win the game, because he did everything right.”
Rondo played all 48 minutes in regulation and all five minutes of OT, adding 10 rebounds and 8 assists to go along with his 44 points. He scored all 12 of the Celtics’ points in overtime.
After the game, guard Ray Allen was asked if the championship experience of the Celtics’ veterans had rubbed off on Rondo. He flipped the question.
“We feed off what he’s doing now,” said Allen.
Rondo suspended for bumping official
After Game 2 of the Celtics’ 2012 first-round playoff series vs. the Hawks, Rondo was suspended for Game 3 of the series for bumping an official.
Rondo made contact with referee Marc Davis after arguing a call against teammate Brandon Bass. Rondo was ejected, and the NBA reviewed the play before handing down final judgment. The NBA’s no-contact rules mandate a suspension for intentional contact with an official.
“Obviously, from a competitive standpoint we are disappointed with the league’s decision to suspend Rondo. He plays a valuable part in our team’s success. We accept the punishment and will use it as a learning tool for our players,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
Rondo suspended for throwing ball at official
Rondo was suspended two games for arguing a call and throwing the ball at official Sean Wright in a Feb. 19, 2012, loss to the Pistons in Auburn Hills, Mich.
From a Boston.com game report: Rondo believed he was fouled by both Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe on a drive to the basket with about 3 minutes left in the third quarter and the Celtics trailing 66-54. After the no-call, Rondo picked up the ball after a Celtics’ 24-second clock violation and whipped it underhanded to Wright as Wright’s hands were up as he made the call.
Rondo then continued to argue the call and said, “That was a foul (expletive),” before being ejected for the first time in his career.
Rondo-Paul rivalry escalates
Rondo, who is keenly aware of his perception and rating in the NBA, has frequently been compared to fellow point guard Chris Paul. At a November 2009 game, the rivalry manifested beyond the court. Rondo and Paul were given a double technicals in the second quarter, then exchanged words after the game and had to be separated by team security.
Their rivalry was fueled even further in 2011 when the NBA lockout ended and news emerged that the Celtics had tried to trade for Paul, and Rondo was a chip in that deal. Paul ended up with the Clippers. Next
Statement games in New York
While many called Rondo’s performance in Game 4 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals one of his best, Game 3 of a first-round playoff series in 2011 is close to the top of the list. The Celtics came in with a 2-0 lead against the Knicks, and Rondo had a Celtics’ playoff record 20 assists to go with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Before Game 4, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni poked the bear when he questioned how good Rondo would be without the Celtics’ Big 3 alongside him.
“I’d like to see him play in Minnesota and see how he does,” D’Antoni said.
That led to a 21-point, 12-assist night by Rondo as the Celtics swept the Knicks out of the playoffs and continued Rondo’s ascension to a major leadership role on the team. Next
Speaking his mind
Rondo doesn’t shy away from saying exactly what’s on his mind, and one memorable example was his halftime interview during Game 4 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. As it always is, refereeing was a major topic throughout the playoffs, and Rondo hit on it when he was asked by ESPN’s Doris Burke why the Celtics were able to score—to the tune of 61 first-half points—so well against the Heat’s vaunted defense.
“Them complaining and crying to referees in transition,” Rondo said.
After the game, Burke asked him if he expected repercussions from the NBA, which is hyper-sensitive to criticism of officials, for his comment, but he stood his ground. “What I said was true,” he said.
It was a stark contrast to the normal sideline interview fare of cliches and coach-speak, and was another example of Rondo’s unique style and individuality. Next
After serving his two-game suspension for the Kris Humphries fight, Rondo offered no apology when he returned to the team and met with reporters.
“I wanted to be out there with my teammates but, obviously, a two-game suspension ... like I said, I was glued in front of the TV,” said Rondo, who told reporters he went to Mexico during the break. “Hopefully I don’t feel too winded tomorrow. I think I’ve been off for about a week now. We’ll see tomorrow.”
When asked if there was a lesson to be learned from his third suspension in nine months, he flatly said: “No.”
Another bump in the road
Rondo got suspended again, this time for one game, for making contact with an official during a January game against the Atlanta Hawks and for failure to cooperate with a league investigation. Rondo was also suspended in a game in May 2012 for bumping an official in the Celtics playoff series against the Hawks. What’s with him and the refs at games against Atlanta? Back to the beginning
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