Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Rondo was the fourth Celtic to play for a USA Basketball team in international competition. Two won gold, although Larry Bird was pretty much an afterthought on the one and only Dream Team in 1992.Dominique Wilkins – yes, it's true — was still into his Norma Desmond incarnation when he played on the 1994 world championship team. And Paul Pierce, well, more on him later. Suffice it to say when the Pierce autobiography comes out, there won't be a lot of pages devoted to Indianapolis 2002. He came back from that tournament with a smear that would take years to erase.
ESPN Boston: Another Celtics falls flat on Team USA
This seems pretty unfair. Peter May lays out the mitigating circumstances in his argument… but they are still mitigating circumstances. To say Larry Bird "fell flat" and was an afterthought is unfair. Yes, May is right in saying it's a testament to his career rather than how he was playing at the moment… but saying he was an "afterthought" really is taking a shot at him just to make a point.
I didn't even remember Dominique Wilkins being a member of the C's when he played for Team USA. So really… it was Paul Pierce's squad that fell flat. And that's putting it nicely.
The Rondo thing… it's a mystery. Bethlehem Shoals has a great look at the enigma that is Rondo as he relates to USA Basketball. And anyone who kept a close watch on this whole thing has that question as to whether Rondo ever really wanted to be there. I wonder if Doc pushed him into it… convincing him that it was a good thing for him to do? Or maybe we're just reading Rondo's trademark public stoicism wrong.
That's the problem with your expression not changing when you're in public. People start trying to read into it. Is it aloof, or cool under pressure? Is he disinterested, or focused? We don't know.
What we do know is Rondo went from DNP to withdrawing from the team. It's a curious set of circumstances that may simply be true family issues that needed addressing… or an excuse to leave in an effort to save face.
One thing is for certain… a vast majority of Celtics fans are just fine with him not playing. So while some of us are scratching our heads over this, the rest of you have your arms raised. And in a month, none of this will matter.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: Video: Shaq on sportscenter | Globe: Rondo leaves Team USA | Shaq a double winner on reality show | CelticsBlog: What, me wo