So many times this season before his ACL injury, Rajon Rondo was questioned for how much he actually cared about the Celtics. When they were hovering around .500 and Rajon put up some duds, his competitive drive was greatly questioned.
Well, after a Lee Jenkins profile on Rajon Rondo in Sports Illustrated’s magazine, there’s no questioning his competitive edge now. He’s the league leader in assists and is extremely passive, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to win in everything. Especially Connect Four.
Jenkins profile hasn’t hit the web yet, but its a great read. It delves into topics like Rondo’s childhood, why he acts the way that he does, and where his competitive edge comes from. What I found most entertaining about it was his affinity for Connect Four and how he dealt with a loss to a child.
Sure, it was a small game of Connect Four, but Rajon rarely loses at these. Take a look at these quotes from Jenkins’ profile. These quotes were grabbed from Andrew Sharp of SB Nation.
The Celtics didn’t want to change Rondo when he arrived, but they didn’t want to him either. So at charity foundations he perched behind a folding table where he could avoid the back-slapping, baby-hugging and other standard forms of celebrity fakery. He just played Connect Four, against anybody who dared, usually two grids at a time and sometimes three. “This has been going on for six years,” Matt Meyersohn, the Celtics’ director of community relations, said on Dec. 22 during an event at the Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club in Dorchester, Mass. “He’s played hundreds of Connect Four games, maybe a thousand. And he’s never lost.”
Later that day Rondo sat behind a table and three girls. Across from him there were more than 100 children he had showered with bikes, Razor scooters and iPod Touches that he bought at Target and distributed from the back of a U-Haul. “I thought he might let us win,” said a 12 year-old named Olissa. “But he was so serious.” [...]
Olissa was the last challenger. He stared back at Rondo through wire-rimmed glasses. He clenched teeth covered with braces. He initiated what he called a trap, forcing Rondo to the right side of the grid, putting him on the defensive. When Olissa dropped the winning disk, Celtics officials started to shout. Meyerson grabbed the microphone. “This has never happened!” he bellowed. [...]
Rajon cares about winning. Maybe to a fault. Maybe this is why he isn’t the most likeable star in the NBA. He’s beating children in Connect Four for his entertainment. All of the trollage here folks. It doesn’t get any better. But wait, it does! After that this is what Rondo had to say.
“I can’t believe it,” [Rondo] said. “But did you notice I played the guy five more times and won them all? I had to show him, ‘You beat me, I’ll beat the s*** out of you.’”
There you have it folks. PR destroyer and Boston Celtics ultra-competitive point guard Rajon Rondo. How fun is that?