In Rajon Rondo, The Mavericks Have Acquired The Weirdest Player In The NBA.
Things are about to get a little crazy in the American Airlines Center.
And not just on the court, either. Sure, the fact that the Dallas Mavericks just acquired all-star point guard Rajon Rondo and backup center Dwight Powell from the Boston Celtics last night in exchange for the ever-efficient Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, a 2015 first round pick and a 2016 second round pick bodes well for the Mavericks' playoff and title-contention chances this year.
But not to be glossed over here is the fact that Rondo is, without question, one of the weirdest players in the NBA. Sure, he's league’s leader in assists, a stellar defender and a legitimate field general who should help facilitate the Mavericks offense, but as Lee Jenkins' 2013 Sports Illustrated feature on Rondo shows, he's as intriguing a character off the court as he is on it.
In the coming weeks, it'll be up to head coach Rick Carlisle to figure out how to incorporate Rondo into the Mavericks' Xs and Os. Right now, though, it's time for the team's fans to become a more familiar with the offbeat personality that's about to walk through the team's locker room doors.
To that end, we've compiled the following bits of information, each of which only scratches to the surface to the depths of Rondo's ever-fascinating persona.
• Rondo is the best roller-skater in the NBA. In his own estimation, at least. Far as he's concerned, he could compete in national tournaments.
• Rondo is insanely competitive at Connect Four. At charity functions, rather than signing autographs, Rondo likes to set up a table and take on challengers. Celtics officials have only seen Rondo lose at Connect Four once — to a 12-year-old, who Rondo immediately challenged to five more games, each of which he decidedly won.
• President Obama messes with his head. In Shaquille O'Neal's Shaq Uncut book, Rondo's former Celtics teammate claims that Barack Obama broke Rondo's confidence when the president criticized his jumpshot. The situation did not improve when teammate Ray Allen joined in on the pig-pile. Rondo, not a great shooter to begin with, then suffered a shooting slump for the remainder of the 2010-2011 season. Wrote Shaq: “He's so sensitive!”
• Rondo doesn't like mouth guards. During timeouts and time on the bench, he casually stores his mouthpiece in his jersey.
• Rondo will use any competitive edge he can find. Former teammate Brandon Bass says Rondo used to count cards during games of Spades on the team plane.
• Rondo is superstitious as hell. Sure, eight and a half years into his career, you might expect the guys to have established a few pregame rituals. But this hyper-specific, carefully choreographed ritual might be a little hard for him to replicate with his new Dallas teammates right off the bat.
• He's a pass-first point guard. Compared to the likes of Russell Westbrook, yeah, these days that's pretty weird.
• Rondo just refuses to be ordinary. Check out the below compilation of how Rondo reacts when he receives an opening tip-off. He can't refrain from starting the game off with a little flash.
• Dude's arms are ridiculously long. He stands just 6'1″ tall, but has the arms the length of an 8-foot-tall giant.
• He's a huge cornhole fan. In the front yard of his Boston home, Rondo has two cornhole boards. He plays the game regularly — and, of course, competitively — with one of his neighbors. He even installed a fire pit so he could play during the winter.
• Rondo is a clean freak. On game days, he takes five showers, keeps carmex in his socks and sanitizes his hands throughout the game.
• He's a mathlete. He's a natural at algebra. And he enjoys teaching it, too.
So, yeah, it's fair to say that Rajon Rondo is an extraordinarily unique individual. He's hoping that meshes well with the Mavericks, who are looking to get Rondo into their lineup by Saturday when the San Antonio Spurs come to town.