The Boston Celtics are probably going to be without point guard Rajon Rondo for at least a couple of games. Following a hard foul by Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries on teammate Kevin Garnett in Wednesday night's contest, Rondo got into a shoving match with the Nets' power forward. The fracas spilled into the stands, and both players were ejected along with Nets forward Gerald Wallace.
Rondo's attitude has always been something of an issue in Boston, and he should hold himself fully responsible for his actions in the game against the Nets. Hard fouls happen all the time in the NBA, and this was just another one. Rondo's temper simply got the best of him, and now he has to pay the price.
However, there is one more guilty party aside from the three who were ejected from the game. His name is Kevin Garnett, and he has long played with something of a chip on his shoulder. He prides himself on trash talk and never has a problem using his mouth to intimidate opposing players.
The sad part is that Garnett is also one of the Celtics' team leaders, but his attitude is anything but what that of a leader should be. Instead of rallying the troops and motivating them, he chides them if they don't play with the same rough and tumble mentality that he does. Earlier this season, he called out bench forward Jeff Green and said he needed to play like more of a "jerk".
This philosophy has rubbed off on Rondo, and not in a good way. There is nothing wrong with being a passionate player and being enthusiastic about defeating an opponent, but there is such a thing as going too far.
Rondo did just that last night. His teammate got fouled hard, and he took offense over something that happens all the time. Garnett didn't even have a chance to react to being fouled before Rondo started in on Humphries.
The worst of it all is that Rondo is one of the best point guards in the NBA. He is leading the league in passing with 12.9 assists per game, and all of that talent is going to go down the drain if he continues showcasing his boorish attitude. No team will want to deal with his personality.
Last year, Rondo even admitted that he had a bit of an attitude in an interview with Jessica Camerato of Comcast Sportsnet New England:
“Actually, my sister, she calls me ‘Oscar’ like the grouch because I work her a little bit,” Rondo continued. “They get on me, call me a ‘divo.’ Doc (Rivers), KG, they got on me, say I’m high maintenance. I just try to fly under the radar. I just tell them they’re the same, obviously I’ve learned from guys that’s in front of me (laughs). My coach is a leader, Kevin’s my vet, so if I get it, it’s from them (smiles).”
Really? Is he being serious? He knows he has an attitude, but won't admit it's his own fault, let alone a problem?
The fact that Rondo says he gets his "divo" attitude from Garnett says it all. The veteran power forward is a bad influence, and even other players call him out on his behavior, specifically an anonymous man whom ESPN called "Player X".
Rondo is already on the path to becoming just what Player X called Garnett, and it needs to stop if the Celtics are to seriously contend in the future. Instead of being a badass, Rondo needs to continue improving his game, from his shooting to his defense.
Garnett's "leadership" is rubbing off on him, and not in the way that Boston needs it to. It's time for Rondo to grow up and become the true leader of the Boston Celtics.
Otherwise, the team must revisit what it did last year and listen to offers for him, and thus lose one of the best point men in the league for all the wrong reasons.