The brawl between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets at Staples Center offered insightful background about two of the main culprits: Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that there was a “lot of history” between Rondo and Paul, which led to the two coming to blows on Saturday evening in Los Angeles.
Rondo spoke about his continued rivalry with the Houston point guard (via ESPN):
“Everyone wants to believe Chris Paul is a good guy. They don’t know he’s a horrible teammate. They don’t know how he treats people. Look at what he did last year when he was in LA; trying to get to the Clippers locker room. They don’t want to believe he’s capable of taunting and igniting an incident. Exasperating and spitting are two different things. He comes out and says I spit and the media sides with that.”
It’s worth noting that Glen “Big Baby” Davis has chimed in as well, replying to a post on Instagram and siding with Rondo:
Several others have joined the conversation, adding fuel to the fire that the two players might be bigger rivals than we ever realized.
According to Paul Pierce, who played alongside Rondo in Boston and Paul on the Clippers, the two players have “never” liked each other. Another former teammate, Jared Sullinger, tweeted that the exchange is nothing new between both parties. Doc Rivers, who has coached both, was not surprised either.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, someone in Rondo’s family “confronted” Paul’s wife Jada Paul during the game. Rockets beat writer Jonathan Feigen reported that the person made “inappropriate comments” after the altercation.
Back in 2009, Rondo and Paul were separated before a postgame scuffle nearly broke out between the Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans.
After the incident nearly a decade ago, the PR department for the Celtics noted that Rondo requested reporters never ask him about Paul. But the bad blood only escalated last night.