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Here's The Thing About Rajon Rondo's Breakfast With Kobe Bryant...

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Rajon Rondo sat down with Kobe Bryant for breakfast on Beacon Hill yesterday. What do you suppose it means? Here's one theory...

Kobe is the enemy. Or is he?
Kobe is the enemy. Or is he?
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

It's become fairly commonplace in 2014 for the internet to spontaneously combust the moment anyone tweets evidence of two rival athletes meeting with one another in a public place. If two guys are spotted together at a restaurant or a club or a ballgame, and they both make eight-figure salaries playing a sport, and they don't belong to the same team, you can bet there will be fireworks. At this point, it's so predictable you can't help but crack a yawn.

That's especially the case when it's someone like Rajon Rondo, who's on a rebuilding Celtics team that's rumored to have been shopping him for months if not years, meeting with someone like Kobe Bryant, who's simultaneously the NBA's greatest supervillain and its most pathetic sob story. Rondo's on the Celtics and unhappy; Bryant's on the Lakers and unhappy too. Yesterday they had breakfast together at The Paramount, on Beacon Hill. What does it all mean?

With apologies to anyone whose bubble this may be bursting, the likely answer is "not terribly much." It means that two acquaintances and pseudo-co-workers met up one morning and shared a meal and a conversation. It is not a reliable indicator that a personnel move is on the horizon and Rondo and Bryant will play together, just as it wasn't this summer when Rondo got together at Fenway Park with Kevin Love.

"But it's weird," you might answer. "These two guys are rivals. They're a Celtic and a Laker. They're bitterly competitive. They've beaten each other in the Finals. How can they just casually share breakfast?"

Yeah. I hear you.

Except I also kind of get it.

Here's the thing about hyper-competitive human beings like Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo - while we have spent years watching them engage in on-court "battle," and we've built up this image in our heads of two men who hate each other and would do anything to defeat each other, we do need to remember that at the end of the day, these hyper-competitive human beings are really just that - human beings. They have emotions. They have tough days at the office just like anyone else, and sometimes they need someone to talk to. A confidant, sounding board, a voice of moral support, call it what you will. We've all needed that in our lives. And in a way it's better that Kobe and Rondo turn to each other instead of to their respective teammates - it's got to be refreshing to hear another voice, someone besides the people you work with every day.

I think personality-wise, though maybe not basketball-wise, Kobe and Rondo have a lot to offer each other. They're two smart, determined, strong-willed guys who want what's best for their teams but sometimes take controversial routes to get there. Kobe himself has described this personality type as, well, there's certain terminology I don't use here because this is supposed to be a family site, but let's just say it rhymes with "brass bowl." When you're a "brass bowl" type, it's not easy to endure a long losing season - or even a couple of them consecutively, as Kobe and Rondo are both slogging through currently.

But Kobe's interesting. I think he's a bit misunderstood at times - detractors paint him as this egomaniacal ballhog who takes 30 shots a game because he doesn't believe in anyone but himself. I don't think that's entirely true - it's not that Kobe doesn't believe in people, it's just that you need to put him around the right people.

It's been well publicized lately that Kobe has a willingness in his later years to reach out to others and ask for advice. If you read Chris Ballard's profile that came out in Sports Illustrated this summer, you'll learn that Kobe, who's begun thinking about a life in business after basketball, recently picked up the phone and cold-called Oprah and Apple executive Jonathan Ive to pick their brains. This is how the new Kobe operates - he's introspective, he's inquisitive and he always knows where to turn to ask questions.

So when it comes to handling adversity in the NBA, why not ask Rondo? He's got plenty of insights to share.

As for Rondo, such a talk can do him a world of good too. It can benefit him to get some long-term perspective - he's still only 28, and though the Celtics have been bad these last couple seasons, he still has plenty of time to turn his career around even without leaving Boston. For comparison's sake, look at where Kobe was at age 28. That would be 2006, when he was smack-dab in the middle of the affectionately dubbed "Smush Parker Era," a forgettable period in Lakers history when the talent around Kobe was barren and the Lakers didn't have a prayer. This was a couple years before he parted ways with Shaquille O'Neal, and a couple years before he united with Pau Gasol. The dark period in between championship runs.

Rondo is going through a similar dark period himself, and maybe he needs a wise old sage in his life to tell him it won't last forever. I'm guessing that right now, with his team trudging along at 5-11 and showing few signs of getting any better, it's hard to take the long view. But he should take it from Kobe - you never know what the future might bring. That's not to say that Rondo's Pau Gasol is right around the corner, necessarily... but who knows?

Five weeks into the 2014-15 season, Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo have five wins each. Given the proud careers of both players, that's a massive disappointment. But maybe a pep talk with the right guy is exactly what each of them needs right now. Who are we to say otherwise?