As the NBA game has evolved, so have the players' egos.
It seems that everybody's a tough guy nowadays, and there are no physical requirements needed to qualify as one.
When Rajon Rondo went WWF on Kris Humphries, he was attempting to make a statement. One of those, "know your role" statements, if you know what I mean.
Humphries' crime certainly wasn't vicious enough to justify being tackled into the stands. This was about pride.
The idea of some unaccomplished nobody coming into his house and pushing down Kevin Garnett, a proven winner and by all means a somebody, was simply unacceptable. It would be like a stranger going into your refrigerator and swigging your milk out of the carton.
But that's just the way of the NBA.
The superior players and money-makers have beef with the inferior "seat fillers" who step out of line. And these lower-class players take issue with the upper-class stars who think they can do what they want because of their status.
It's the "Do you know who I ams?" against the "Who do you think you ares?"
Backing down only leaves a player vulnerable to being called the worst adjective in sports. The four-letter word that could stop traffic. I cringe just to the sound of someone calling another guy "soft." It's the ultimate sports diss.
Adrian Wojnarowski wrote an interesting column talking about Rondo's "combustibility." And he was right. Rondo clearly has a button that can be easily gotten to.
But his outburst was more reflective of the NBA's new culture, rather than one specific player with a temper.
The egos of athletes have reached an all-time high. Maybe we can thank social media for that. If I had 400,000 followers on Twitter, I'd be demanding people feed me grapes and shine my crown.
Also, there's no place to hide if you're an athlete. If you get shown up, you're getting shown up in front of the world. Little Billy is posting that video of you getting dunked on as we speak.
Maybe trying to relate the two is a stretch. Maybe this is just an isolated example of Rondo losing his composure.
Or maybe it's a reflection of the NBA's culture, in which egos are inflated, and everyone's a tough guy.