Rajon Rondo slamming the idea of Isaiah Thomas‘ tribute video a month ago – “What has he done?” Rondo asked of the other former Celtics point guard – wasn’t just the silent undercurrent of Rondo’s and Thomas’ ejections last night.
No, no, no. Rondo actually brought up the tribute video during the Pelicans’ win over the Lakers.
Thomas, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:
“Whatever reason, he’s an upset guy about me,” Thomas said after Wednesday’s game. “I don’t know what it is, but it’s fine. He kept bringing the tribute up, when I was the one that shut the tribute down. I’m far past that. … For me to be ejected was uncalled for.”
Asked if he has had any other history with Rondo, Thomas said he didn’t know.
“I mean, my team beat his team in the playoffs last year,” Thomas said, referring to the Celtics beating the Chicago Bulls 4-2 in the first round last postseason. “Maybe that is what’s wrong. I don’t know. There’s nothing. Nothing should’ve made that escalate like it did. He already had his agenda written down right when I checked into the game. It was obvious. He picked me up full court, trying to be physical.
“I don’t know what was going on with him. I don’t know why I got thrown out. I don’t want to comment too much on it. … It was obvious what was going on. He was being too aggressive for whatever reason, and he also hit me in the face three times. At some point, as a human, if no one is going to protect me, I got to protect myself, and that is when I spoke up and got upset. I hope the NBA figures something out with that, because it was wrong for me to be ejected.”
You must give Rondo this: He’ll say it to your face. He might bring it up at an inappropriate time, but he’ll say it to your face. Thomas can’t accuse Rondo of degrading him only through the media. This attitude has gotten Rondo in trouble at times over the years, but the stubborn insistence he’s right and his desire to tell you about it is also part of what made him such a good player.
For his part, Thomas did tell the Celtics to skip the tribute. But maybe that was only after he got wind Paul Pierce told them not show it, and the video clearly meant something to Thomas. Rondo knew that trash talk could get under Thomas’ skin.
Will Thomas’ retort get under Rondo’s? Rondo might point out his Bulls were up 2-0 and Boston won four straight only after he got hurt.
And if Rondo wants to make that point, he’ll probably tell Thomas directly when he next sees him.