The Bulls and the Celtics have not always gotten along. That might be an understatement the size of Rajon Rondo's hands. You can trace it back at least as far as the 2008-09 playoff series that went 7 games and included 7 additional overtime periods. Joakim Noah, who's already intense in a KG like way, always took it up another notch for the Celtics. Go find a Bulls fan and ask them about Rondo and you'll probably learn some new curse words. Rondo for his part has never been shy to state that he doesn't like players on other teams.
So it was interesting to hear that Rondo and Noah have apparently buried the hatchet. On last night's CSNNE broadcast (see other highlights here) Rajon revealed that the two worked things out at the free throw line one day.
"I think this is 10 years for Noah and I that we’ve played against each other," Rondo said. "We played each other in AAU and obviously in college, so Noah and I have been battling for a long time. A very long time. About two years ago, we came to an understanding, because we were always going at each other, and we didn’t never really understand why, but I think it’s because we both love to compete. He’s a guy who’s going to bring it every night, and I do the same, but we don’t play the same position, so one game we were at the free throw line and just thought about why we even go at each other. We kind of squashed it. No beef. No big deal. He’s fun to compete against."
I think that shows a little bit of maturity on Rondo's part. Perhaps seeing Pierce and Garnett in other uniforms have given him new perspective. Or perhaps Rondo's impending free agency is making him rethink his us-against-them strategy. That isn't to say that he's gone soft. He's proven this year that he's as hyper-competitive as ever. But at some point, even Garnett would step back and appreciate and respect guys like Noah that played the game hard.
Good for Rondo and good for Noah. It is great to have rivalries and competition, but as Larry and Magic taught us, there can be respect and even friendship beyond the court too.