Thursday, April 9, 2015

Rajon Rondo is "Good Will Hunting"

Yesterday, former Boston Globe Celtics reporter and current ESPN Los Angeles writer Baxter Holmes published an amazing piece on Rajon Rondo.  During his time with the Celtics, Rondo was always my favorite Boston athlete.  Now I have a bit more of an understanding why.  Holmes' article is titled Rajon Rondo: Good at Math, Bad at People.  I highly recommend taking the time to read the whole thing. Here are the highlights for me:

Rondo's competitive spirit and dry humor:
"The day he was traded to Dallas in December, he spent his final hours as a Celtic at Boston Children's Hospital, crushing all comers in the game [Connect Four], repeatedly telling kids, 'No mercy.'"

He questions things just because:
"He's a contrarian. I figured that out early. He'd ask, 'Well why wouldn't we do it this way?' Sometimes I'd answer, 'Well, which way do you want to do it?' He'd say, 'No, I like the way we're doing it, I'm just asking.' That's a Rondo."
-- Doc Rivers

His high school experience:
"Rondo took a sophomore AP geometry class, taught by a man named Doug Bibby. He didn't do homework. He wouldn't bring his books. He frequently fell asleep at the back of the classroom, waking up only when an angry Bibby called on him to answer a question. Rondo would rouse himself, glance at the board, blurt out the correct answer and resume his slumber. He aced all his tests, which led Bibby to suspect Rondo of cheating, so the teacher gave Rondo different tests. 'He aced those too,' Bibby says. To send a message, Bibby still gave Rondo a D. It was, Bibby says, 'a pissing contest.'

Bibby, it's worth noting, was also the school's basketball coach."

He has a near photographic memory:
"Before Rondo's first playoff series against Atlanta in 2008, the Celtics distributed a 100-page book full of the Hawks' plays and statistics. Rondo took it home, then challenged assistant Darren Erman the next morning: 'Quiz me on anything.' Rondo nailed every question, until Erman tossed a curveball -- a question about something that wasn't in the book. 'F*ck you,' Rondo said. 'That's not in there.'"

He has a personal statistician:
"He told me, 'If I put my mind to it, I can get a triple-double every game,'" says Justin Zormelo, his personal statistician."

My favorite, he has no tolerance for plot holes in movies:
"Provide him with bad information? 'Your credibility is shot,' Rondo says. And if he doesn't buy the narrative, even off the floor, he'll bail, he'll disengage, as he does on movies whose storylines stray from logic, even for a moment. His last theater walkout: The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington. 'I didn't understand how he got the cop's number,' Rondo says, referencing a certain scene. 'It was just too much.'"

From his 3rd grade teacher:
"The boy grasps concepts instantly and easily. He has a curious knack for analyzing numbers in ways that others do not -- so much so that he actually teaches the teacher new ways to solve equations, methods she'll go on to teach other students for years to come. ...

She knows that for as wildly gifted as this 9-year-old is, he can be just as frustrated with others who are not. 'He just didn't understand why everyone else doesn't get it,' recalls Melanie Benitez, still teaching at Engelhard, 21 years later."

Rondo is Good Will Hunting:
"At shootarounds and practices in Boston, Rivers says, Rondo would become "very irritated" when they had to go over plays again and again, even for veterans. For Rondo, learning plays came as naturally as math."

Now watch this clip, and tell me it's not the same guy?

The funny thing is, this is the second time this season I've written about Rondo as Good Will Hunting, although the first was for entirely different circumstances.

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