First of all, it's another great piece from Baxter Holmes. It's no wonder why he was awarded a prize from the Pro Basketball Writers' Association. Here's a snippet of Rondo talking frankly about what it's like being the captain in such turbulent waters:
"I think they know that I want the best for them overall," Rondo said. "Hopefully they would think that.
"Everything I tell guys or any advice I give is for the betterment of them and the team. I don't benefit from it - well, maybe from getting an assist - but I want them to be in the right rotation defensively. I want us to all be on the same page. And then when we win, we all win.
"When we win, everybody gets paid."
Those are brutally honest and plain words coming from Rondo, stripped of all the rumors and innuendos about his bad attitude and reputation as a locker room cancer. Read the rest of it. He's still getting advice from Doc Rivers and the blue collar, hard hat teammates like Gerald Wallace and Avery Bradley talk glowingly of Rondo's ability to lead by example and put everybody's success ahead of his own.
This story won't get much run in the press. BirthdayGate and his recent shooting slump will grab all the headlines. It's the unfortunate nature of celebrity: it's more interesting when you're doing bad than when you're doing good. The heat on Rondo will certainly get turned up next year when he's in the final year of his contract, but we all need to be reminded that #9 is Ubuntu through and through.
It's always struck me how different the story is coming from the media vs. his teammates and coaches and how that's shaped his public and private perception. I've always got the sense that Rondo cringes at the reality of being a public figure and that any sound bite he gives gets tweeted, re-tweeted, manipulated, and re-manufactured to fit whatever persona someone's trying to project about him. He's made mistakes and sure, he could just play ball with the press and give them what they want, but I really think Rondo's too honest a person for that.
That's why I love this Baxter Holmes piece. It's just a small glimpse of what it must be like to be a professional athlete, but Rondo is so honest with his take. You want to play for money? That's fine. In the end, these are our careers we're talking about, but if you want to get paid and stay here a couple of years, we gotta win and I'm here to help you do that.
You gotta love that.