Earlier today, Loy posted about Rondo's fantastic Asian trip. Looking at that, I started to thinking about the off-season and how different some players are. Most people who know me know that I love Celtics history and am always reading something from the past. We can learn some very important lessons from the Celtics legends.
For instance, Larry Bird was one of the greatest players to ever step on the court. He didn't have the physical tools that a lot of players have. He wasn't athletic and he couldn't jump and he wasn't fast. But yet, he was one of the most dominant players of any era. It didn't just happen, either. Larry Bird was also one of the hardest working players in league history.
When a season ended, Larry was right back out on the court working on his game, especially if the team missed out on the championship. He worked tirelessly on his conditioning, on his shooting, and on every facet of his game. He also tried to add a new wrinkle to his game every off-season to keep his opponents off guard. He didn't want to be too easy for them to guard. Larry didn't go on trips. He didn't do fun things. He worked and got better.
All of that brings me back to Rondo's summer. First, there were interviews and photos surface from Rondo's visit to France where he attended Nike's World Basketball Festival. He did a clinic there but didn't seem to have a lot of time for working on his own game.
He then traveled to Asia for Red Bull and had a very busy time over there, again seemingly without a lot of time to work on his own game:
Hope you like this one. Here's a recap video of Rajon's visits to Taiwan, the Philippines and Hong Kong. He hosted multiple youth clinics, a court refurbishment, and qualifiers for Red Bull King of the Rock. He also was able to spend some down time on the water while in Hong Kong, "becoming one with the banana boat" and doing some wakeboarding.
After his Asia trip we next found Rondo interning at GQ magazine and writing blogs about hats and having a great time carrying bags and coffee and delivering mail and all sorts of fun things. He was seen at Fashion Week and generally was a man about town. Then we had his appearance on BET's 106 and Park, being the fashion plate and witty interviewee.
He's hung out with the University of Kentucky girls volleyball team. He's been out at UCLA playing flag football. Next, he's heading to Alcatraz for the King of the Rock tournament. The one thing that I haven't read anything about is how he's been working hard on his game. Rondo is a great player, but let's face it, he has areas that he needs some work on. It would be nice if we heard that he was working hard on his shot or on his free throws.
Just because we haven't heard anything about his working on his game or his shot or his free throws doesn't mean that he hasn't been doing it behind the scenes, but with a schedule like he had this summer, I don't see how he had the time to do too much. Brandon Bass went to China and put on clinics there, but he also took his shooting coach with him and worked on his game in between the clinics and the public appearances. If Rondo did something like that, I would think that one of the articles would have mentioned it.
I know that Rondo's had a fun summer and has done a lot of things. But, I can't help but wonder if maybe he should have done a little more to be ready for the season. Larry Bird proved that you don't become the best without hard work. Rondo said in one interview that he thinks he's the best point guard in the league. He's one of the best. If he wants to be the best, it's going to come with a lot of hard work and less fun and games.
People should get off of Rondo's back !!!!! It's his life, so he can absolutely do whatever he wishes to do with it. Name another player last season that played for over 50 minutes in one game?! I hear were your coming from, but you should leave Rondo's time and how he's using it up to him. Its called "off season" and I think he of all people deserved one.
Yes, it's his life and he can do what he wants. But he's also getting paid millions to play for the Celtics and to bring them a championship. As such, he should make that his first priority.
He can do whatever he wants, but if he doesn't come back a better player than he was last year, we as fans have a right to question how much he really wants to win a championship.
But like I said in the article I don't know that he didn't work on his game and he'll come back in great shape and ready to go. If so, all this is a moot point. I just read all those accounts of Larry working all offseason to get better because of how bad he wanted to win.
The guy comes back into a playoff game after dislocating his elbow and plays almost 40 minute 2 days later and you want to question how much he really wants to win a championship? He clearly wants it more than you think.
Goblin- I don't read FLC's piece as on Rondo's back at all. She points out, quite validly, that he spent a lot, a whole lot, of time this summer involved in activities that did little to improve his game.
Anon- I agree. Rondo, like Pierce and Garnett, are good bets to crawl out of their coffins at their own funerals to claw their way up and down the court.
FLC- Larry was indeed driven to work tirelessly on his game. Considering the seven hundred and forty-nine sprained ankles, fingers, wrists, knees, and shoulders that Rondo "played through," I'm glad we haven't heard about him playing against competition--he needs healing. But I do hope he is working on that jumper. Somehow I think he is. Perhaps not endlessly like Larry did. Although I wonder if by his seventh year (can you believe Rondo has been with Boston that long?) I think Larry was pretty limited in what his body would let him do. I think Rondo's pride and privacy prevents him parading his off-season work for the media, plus he won't give the enemy the mental edge of believing that Rondo thinks he has "weaknesses."
As always, Lee, you are the voice of reason and you make excellent points. You can't question Rondo's toughness. And yes, he's probably been working on his game in privacy, although he's had precious little of it with how busy his schedule has been. Let's hope that when Rondo comes back he will no longer have a "weakness" :)