In many ways, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo are the same person, they just express themselves a little differently. Think of them as cars with the same engine, but different bodies.
The thing about their personalities, though, is that they're always right… at least in their own minds. And they're not going to believe they're wrong until someone they respect comes along and disagrees. Getting that respect, though, that's one hell of a challenge.
Paul Pierce and Ray Allen? They had KG's respect because they had been around forever and had earned it by being future Hall of Famers. Doc Rivers had KG's respect because he'd been a player and he treated players like adults who can handle their own business.
Rajon Rondo? Well he was just some young kid with a crazy handle, insane passing ability and one job: Keep the vets happy. When KG first got here, all Rondo had to do was that job, pay attention to what they the Big 3 told him, and he would have been just fine in KG's book.
Well, Rondo's not that guy. Rondo's one of those "too smart for his own good" guys. And because Rondo is 10000000000% confident in what he's seeing and doing, and so is Garnett, they have had some… disagreements.
So this Woj piece that sheds light on their dynamic is both surprising in that that we didn't really know it before, but not surprising in that we should have just expected this.
"There were times when they really clashed," Celtics coach Doc Rivers told Yahoo! Sports on Friday night. "But the difference now? They clash and recover. They have an amazing friendship now. But it took time. It took time, and it took trust."
Sometimes, a young guy earns KG's respect by taking everything he has… on the court, off the court, in the media, in the weight room, wherever… and giving it right back. When you're Kevin Garnett and you see a guy with such confidence, and a guy who will stand up for himself you start to respect him.
And when that guy backs it up by proving to you he sees what he sees and by performing on the court, you start to respect him a little more.
And when that little, skinny kid gets up in the face of some guy who just knocked you down and shows he's got your back, well, you respect him even more.
By the mere nature of the positions, Garnett and Rondo see the same court from different perspectives. But Rondo is driven by one single goal: winning. Just like KG. And when time passes, like Doc said, that time tends to show the other guy that they're fighting for the same thing.
So they've clashed. They will again. But it's obvious that they truly are one in the same, even if they outwardly might not carry themselves the same way. KG is often loud and profane. Rondo is often monotone and curt. But on the court, in the locker room, and on the practice floor, they are pushed by the same impossible-to-understand engine of intensity and desire to win games. Sometimes they'll butt heads, sometimes they won't. But they'll aways be moving in the same direction. And if they're moving in that same direction, at the same time, in the same game, they spin wonders that carry this team further than any of us could have ever guessed.