I’m not really sure why anyone is surprised that Rajon Rondo got into a heated exchange with Chicago Bulls associate head coach Jim Boylen during last Saturday’s road game against the Dallas Mavericks.
It’s Rondo! What do you expect, for crying out loud?
Tea and caviar?
I will never forget March 8, 2015, when the Mavericks were in Los Angeles to play the Lakers. After the game while being interviewed by several reporters, Rondo proudly said: “I don’t think there’s not one coach I’ve played with that I haven’t got into it with. I like to test where the coaches are at and I think they like to test me.
“So I’ve gotten into a shouting match with a lot of my coaches in my past years. It started when I was around six years old. I got into it with my Little League football coach.’’
Me being old school, I’m thinking you would be ashamed to admit that you got into it with your Little League football coach. And at the age of 6?
But not Rondo. Apparently with him, that sort of stuff is a badge of honor.
Remember, Rondo also had a few legendary shouting matches with his college coach -- Tubby Smith, when he was at Kentucky -- and with coach Doc Rivers when they were with the Boston Celtics.
It’s just part of Rondo’s DNA. And as long as you know that going into a player/coach relationship with him, I guess it’s OK.
During Rondo’s (brief) playing days with the Mavericks, he was here barely two months when we all remember that rather embarrassing profanity-laced exchange he had with coach Rick Carlisle during a home game against the Toronto Raptors.
Carlisle had just called a timeout and drew up a play that Rondo – being the point guard – was supposed to start executing. After the timeout, when Carlisle noticed Rondo wasn’t running the play Carlisle drew up, Carlisle called another quick timeout.
Some choice words came out of Carlisle’s mouth, Rondo then cursed Carlisle, and Carlisle cursed him back. The two later got into it in the locker room after the game, and Rondo was suspended for one game for conduct detrimental to the team.
Fast-forwarded some two months later, and the Mavericks did the unfathomable when they decided to mutually part ways with Rondo DURING the first-round playoff series with the Houston Rockets. Translation: They’d had it up to here with this guy and just wanted him gone.
In Game 2 of the Mavericks-Rockets series, Rondo picked up his fourth foul with 11:49 remaining in the third quarter. Before retiring to the bench he also was assessed a technical foul.
That was the last time Rondo wore a Mavericks uniform.
But Rondo is a very emotional player who has this engaging personality. He’s also very smart, funny, likeable and is a media darling.
And he’s a darn good basketball player, too. And coaches are in love with darn good players.
Darn good basketball players can make even an average coach look very good.
So this is what Carlisle said about Rondo before this past Saturday’s game against the Bulls.
“I’ve recommended Rondo to a couple of teams that have called me about him the last couple of years,’’ Carlisle said. “As a competitor you’re not going to find a guy better or more resourceful, and he’s really constantly adjusted his game over the years.
“It just didn’t work out here for various reasons. It was just not a good fit, but we did everything we could to make it work.’’
The Bulls on the hook for $28 million over two years for Rondo. They should have read the fine print and knew this guy will speak his mind whenever he wants to, regardless of the consequences, and regardless of whether or not it’s an authority figure.
Sure, the well-meaning apologies from Rondo will come. They always do. But the damage has been done.
“I have great respect for him as a competitor,’’ Carlisle said of Rondo. “I wished him well when he left (the Mavs).
“It was a tough situation.’’
It will always be a tough situation with Rondo. It’s Rondo.
He means well. But with Rondo, just know you’ve got to take the exceptionally good with the exceptionally bad.