Originally written on Celtics Town  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Picimg_boston_celtics_vs_3f14


One gets the feeling Rajon Rondo uses controversy like most use caffeine. He hears trade rumors and becomes a triple-double machine. Craig Sager asks him an innocent question about how the Celtics can handle rest and Rondo responds as if Sager just called his daughter ugly. Doris Burke asks him about Boston’s unexpected scoring binge and Rondo uses it as an excuse to call the Miami Heat crybabies. He might not always be so surly but in competition Rondo has an edge lined with spikes. If no controversy exists, he damn well might create one.

Rondo doesn’t care. He doesn’t care if you think he’s mean or if the Miami Heat think he’s an asshole or if Burke didn’t get the exact answer she was looking for. He doesn’t care if his comments get back to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. He even wants them to get back to those guys. He is unruffled by time and score, unworried by opponents and completely comfortable with his own abilities. He can turn from uber-agressive to semi-passive to “tear-drop floater for the Game 4 win” in a moment’s notice. But he does care. He cares a lot. He cares about winning. And that’s why he builds controversy in places where it doesn’t exist.

When Michael Jordan was inducted to the Hall of Fame, his speech included several anecdotes about how his competitive spirit operates. He spoke about Leroy Smith, the player who made the varsity team over Jordan in his sophomore year of high school. He spoke of hearing about North Carolina teammate Buzz Peterson being high school Player of the Year. “Well, he ain’t never played against me,” Jordan thought. “Buzz became a dot on my board.” Jordan sought reasons to drive him, even if they included battling a teammate for headlines and supremacy. The greatest basketball player of all time didn’t thrive when the waters were clear and the sun was shining. He preferred the wind swirling, the waves crashing and rain drops pounding on his skull. And if that meant he occasionally had to strap on a head dress and partake in a rain dance, Jordan gladly climbed to the heavens with his paint brush and added storm clouds to the night sky.

Rondo likewise doesn’t like when it’s 75 degrees and the world is outside enjoying a beautiful day. He wants to brood and seethe and maybe even hate. He wants his opponents to loathe him so he can feed off their disdain. He wants to live in a world of constant challenges, so he paints a bulls-eye on his own chest for two of the world’s best basketball players to target.

With the Celtics ahead 93-91 on Miami’s final possession, needing one final stop to secure a Game 4 victory, Rondo — a relatively slender 6-foot-1 point guard — asked to defend Wade. “We knew they were going to Wade. I wanted to check him,” he told Doris Burke in a postgame interview. The decision to have Rondo guard Wade made little conventional sense considering that James had already fouled out and Boston had other defenders on the court, including Marquis Daniels and Mickael Pietrus, with more length and strength to bother Wade.

The Heat eventually ran a pick and pop which forced the Celtics to switch Daniels onto Wade, and Wade missed a good look as time expired. But Doc Rivers was comfortable sticking Rondo on Wade with the game, the series and the season in the balance. Rondo is flawed and he’s limited in certain fashions. But when the stakes are highest, he has his coach’s ultimate faith.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Peterson’s dad: Vikings are trying to inflate RB’s trade value

Joint with Aaron Hernandez’s DNA found at murder scene

Report: Marshawn Lynch agrees to new contract with Seahawks

Marques Colston restructures contract, will remain with Saints

Syracuse loses scholarships, vacates wins, on probation

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bryce Harper on Nationals: ‘People want to see us fail’

Gary Bettman on shootouts: 'Fans like the way the game is'

Indianapolis Colts to part ways with Reggie Wayne

Report: Jets to release Percy Harvin

NFL teams shed Top 5 salaries, eye free agency

Report: Jets acquire Brandon Marshall in trade with Bears

Bucs cheerleaders win $825K in lawsuit with team

Small conference tourneys: a primer for weekend of madness

NFL Draft prospect decapitated a Sports Science dummy

Jeanie Buss says Lakers will celebrate Kobe’s 20th season

Winners and losers in the Brandon Marshall trade

Photo of plane by Giants' Larry Donnell in NY Times

WATCH: Matt Harvey looked fantastic for the Mets on Friday

Timeline of Yankee captains

Reggie Miller shares great Jordan trash talking story

Winston's film vs. Oregon is why scouts love him

Ndamukong Suh: Show him the money

Who is the 'franchise player' at each sports network?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Small conference tourneys: this weekend of madness

Winners, losers in Marshall trade

Timeline of Yankee captains

Reggie Miller shares great MJ story

Ndamukong Suh: Show him the money

Winston's film vs. Oregon is why scouts love him

Report: Jets acquire Brandon Marshall

With Pence out, Giants have options

Analyzing the top-five free agent QBs

NBA players set to make biggest impact

Larry Bird trash talks Dominique Wilkins’ statue

Likeliest landing spots for Suh

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.