Originally posted on Celtics Town  |  Last updated 6/4/12


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

WATCH: Bubba Watson's caddie owns heckler at PGA Championship

NFL denies sending Donald Trump letter about schedule

Michael Bennett calls out NFL stars for not speaking up on social matters

Nationals make astute move in acquiring Melancon

Son of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong charged with death of parents

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Texans GM 'disappointed' in DeAndre Hopkins

Can Andre Johnson end his regression in Tennessee?

Favre opens up about painkiller addiction during career

Miami women’s basketball coach criticizes Texas A&M following slideshow

Twin Cities preparing for influx of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

WATCH: Bautista bat flip will be available as NHL 17 celebration

Former USMNT, current MLS forward Davies battled cancer, in remission

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

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

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker