Chicago Bulls Rumors
Only the drama gets mentioned when talking about the Kings, and it can affect even the most decorated of guys. “I wouldn’t say it was chaos, but the media portrayed it as chaos,” Rondo says. “We had ups and downs, we went through certain situations. Publicly talking about firing our coach, didn’t fire our coach. It was a lot of distractions versus what we were able to do as a team.”
Rondo’s physical gifts are undeniable. His long arms can leave those foolish enough to try grasping for air—like the video of Rondo toying with Trey Burke. But the narrative on Rondo changed from being the “difficult but worth it” type to “problem child” seemingly overnight, and he’s self-aware enough to know exactly where it comes from. Even if you stumble through your words trying to find the right way to phrase the question about his reputation, Rondo sees mercy and helps you out. “We can say it: Rick Carlisle,” he says bluntly. “It was a learning process in itself.”
“Rick ran things differently,” Rondo says. In Boston, “I could call a play on one side of the floor and flip it on the opposite side to confuse the defense. In the beginning [in Dallas] I just had to bite my tongue with how things were run because they won there and I won [before]. “The incident that everybody blew up, Rick and I were on different pages on that particular day.” The two had disagreements in the Playoffs a couple years back, a situation both parties should find regrettable. But the reputation has followed only Rondo. Has it affected him negatively? “Absolutely.”
Kidd, who overcame the nickname “Ason Kidd” (no J…) by sinking the fifth most three-pointers in NBA history, knows a little about dealing with a reputation and believes public perception of Rondo should change immediately. “We label everybody and labels tend to not be easily erased,” Kidd says. “The perception of ‘can’t shoot’ can follow you, ‘not coachable’ follows you. It’s the unfortunate thing. I think Rondo is one of the best at what he does. What always comes up: Is he coachable? He’s a basketball player and does what he does at a high level. He’s a champion. It shouldn’t be a question.”
McDermott: A couple guys [at USA Basketball camp] have joked have been like, ‘Oh, token white guy.’ That’s just the way it is, you know. They assume I’m just floor space, but I feel like I’m showing them that I can do a lot. You know I’ve played with a lot of good players here [at USA camp], and they’ve all been obviously very respectful …
Instead, as these ironies in sports go, it is Rondo who is perhaps as much as anyone on the roster providing rare internal bonding opportunities and helping create the kind of team atmosphere necessary for success. Yes, Rajon Rondo, healer. “It’s just that I like to bond with teammates,” said Rondo.