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Doc: Rondo “has to grow up in front of everybody”

RedsArmyAdmin August 30, 2010 Uncategorized 5 Comments

Doc Rivers was in LA to watch his son in that Elite 24 game, which included Austin making John Wall look bad. While he was there, the folks at You Been Blinded caught up with him for a short interview.

The thing that stuck out to me was the last question… which was about Rajon Rondo.  He was asked whether any of Rajon's past… let's say stubbornness… played into anything that happened with Team USA.  Doc's response was interesting.

"I hope not, I don't think it did, I just think Rondo is growing.  He's getting better each year, he's maturing each year, I think he's shown improvement on the floor and he just has to keep getting better.  He's still so young. You know, Rondo doesn't have the luxury most of us have where we can grow up behind curtains.  He has to grow up in front of everybody, and that's tough."

That's a telling statement, to me.  We see Rondo as this growing star in the NBA… which he is.  But in the end, he's still a 24 year old kid dealing with the pressures of the demands that accompany being that good of a player… especially in a sports crazed town like Boston.

I mean, how many other NBA towns can support not only dozens of media outlets dedicated to covering your team… but about a dozen different blogs with a dozen different takes on every little thing you do?

This is the most scrutinized athletes have ever been.  The internet has been great to athletes because it allows them to enhance their "brand" by communicating directly with the fans.  But it's also a minefield.  Everything they put out on Twitter is dissected and interpreted.  140 characters are split 140 different ways by people like me and published for, combined, millions of people to see.  And with mainstream media outlets trolling through blogs as a way to catch some little thing they might have missed… the chances of one of those 140 interpretations getting picked up, and blown up, increases.

So Rajon Rondo isn't just growing up in front of everybody… he's doing it under a white-hot, horribly unforgiving spotlight.  Just look at the stuff that was written about him post-Team USA departure.  Just google "Rondo Withdraws" and you'll get more than a million results.  Do just a blog search on that, and you'll get more than 17,000 results.

17,000 blog results.  With 17,000 people looking at that one decision and smashing it like an atom in the Large Hadron Collider.  Imagine if ever big decision you made in life was that scrutinized?  Can you live with 17,000 people looking at you saying "Bill bought a Toyota… here's 5 reasons why that's a bad decision"…. or "Susan quit her job today… which shows she just doesn't care anymore"?

Hell, look at this post right here.  500 words spun off one sentence uttered by Rondo's coach while he was out watching his son play ball.  And I'm sitting here extrapolating what that may or may mean for this 24 year old kid with incomprehensible basketball talent who just happens to wear the laundry that triggers an Endorphin rush in me.

But Doc says these things for a reason.  Rondo IS still so young.  And Rondo IS growing up in front of everybody.  And it's hard to know what to expect out of someone in that situation… and it's hard to really criticize someone for it.  Because who knows how I, or any of us, would act if we were in that same situation.

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  • http://profile.typepad.com/mrtripledouble10 MrTripleDouble10

    Rondo has always been a bit of an enigma for sure. But I think the entire process of him playing for Team USA has been a bit odd from its inception. He was invited, then he wasn’t invited. Then he had a “miscommunication” with Jerry Colangelo.
    At the end of the day I just think he truly had very little desire to be there for whatever reason. Then he had the family issues, so in the end he probably wanted out.
    He IS growing up under a white-hot spotlight, without question. Let’s hope that he follows the lead of another NBA star who is even younger than he is, Kevin Durant.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pasqualenap43 PasqualeNap43

    one of the better posts I’ve read… makes you wonder how a majority of ‘real’ sports journalists get paid to spit out nonsense and gossip…I guess common sense doesn’t sell

  • http://profile.typepad.com/redsarmy Red’s Army

    Thank you!
    Yes, sensationalism sells, unfortunately. Sadly, common sense is blown off. People want you to “take a stand”.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/the_bantam the_bantam

    We have the allure of advertising to a ‘broader fan base’ a.k.a. folks that really aren’t fans of the sport, to thank for that. “How can I sell commercials to people who aren’t male and between the age of 21-35? I know, we’ll do a story on how LeBron and his Mommy are so close; or we’ll cover ‘Melos stupid tweets; or we will speculate till no end about Rondo’s preference to be on the USA team”
    I think a lot of pure fans of sport that are entirely sick of crap like tweets and he’s dating her, why didn’t the coaches hug after the game, oh my is Gatorade dropping Tiger.
    In a different sport, NFL Network *used to* do a really great job of being the anti-ESPN. They did breakdown of game film, X’s and O’s, and it was fantastic.
    FORGOT TO MENTION, this is why I like Red’s so much!! You all focus as much as possible on the truisms that are the game. Yes, we are all obsessed and love the game and the C’s, but that’s what we love. Not the crap on the peripheries. The game has enough drama within it that it doesn’t need to be sensationalized. If you can’t get a rush out of the game w/o the other stuff, read Stu Scott.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/lauras1969 glitterchick

    The whole Team USA issue is silly. It’s a bunch of meaningless games that would put our most important player at risk for injury. After an outstanding season,Rondo should enjoy his new star status and come in rested and healthy for training camp. And I could not agree more about his having to grow up in the spotlight. He was given the task of running a team of established players. That’s a tough job for anyone,especially one so young. He’s learning and growing. Now he’s established himself as a respected player. It’s onward and upward for Rondo.