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Irish Coffee: The 41 best parts of the most revealing Rajon Rondo interview to date

02.25.13 at 10:45 am ET
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How will Rajon Rondo adapt upon returning to the Celtics next season? This interview may reveal the answer. (AP)

How will Rajon Rondo adapt upon returning to the Celtics next season? This interview may reveal the answer. (AP)

Rajon Rondo doesn’t usually trust the media, which makes the fact he told Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins a reason for that — his father left home in his formative years — all the more fascinating. This Jenkins piece is the definitive Rondo feature, even if most of the reporting took place prior to the Celtics point guard’s season-ending ACL injury. It offers insights we rarely ever see into the enigmatic NBA All-Star. Here are 41 great ones.

  • Rondo loves Shirley Temples. So do his Celtics teammates. “Waitresses are like, ‘What?’ I feel like I have to add a splash of Patron, and I don’t even really drink.”
  • Rondo loves Connect Four. Honing his skills on the front porch of his mom’s College Court home in Louisville, Ky., he plays at charitable events, if only to avoid the awkwardness. Three days before this past Christmas, after handing out bikes, Razor scooters and iPod Touches, he lost for the first time in roughly a thousand charity games. “I can’t believe it. But did you notice I played the guy five more times and won them all? I had to show him, ‘You beat me, but I’lll beat the [expletive] out of you.” His opponent was a 12-year-old named Olisa. Talk about awkward.
  • Rondo doesn’t like game-time decisions. “They just want an excuse if they don’t play well.”
  • Rondo doesn’t like playing grab-ass. “I’m not trying to make friends. We can talk in the summer.”
  • Kevin Garnett: “With Rajon, there ain’t no [expletive]ing around.”
  • Rondo admits, ”A lot of times I’ll be shooting and think, Maybe I should pass.”

  • Jason Kidd once told Rondo: “If you’re going to shoot, you need to have your mind made up that you’re going to do it.”
  • Kevin Wilk, Rondo’s physical therapist: “The [Adrian] Peterson type, the [Derrick] Rose type, the Rondo type, these are perfectionists with a meticulous approach to everything they do. If guys like that are doing 10 reps, and the eighth isn’t right, they’ll start over where someone else will stop. They won’t ever shut it down.”
  • Brian Scalabrine: “There’s no one in the history of our game like him. He’s the the most interesting player I’ve ever known. How does someone who is 6-foot-1 get 18 rebounds? How does someone who doesn’t run fast break get 20 assists? How does someone who never shoots get everybody open? We cannot begin to understand how he does it.”
  • Rondo’s first name was almost Roderick or Johnny. Johnny Rondo would’ve been amazing.
  • Rondo’s obstetrician on his birthday, 27 years from Friday: “His hands are humongous.”
  • Rondo on if his 6-foot-1, 186-pound frame was proportionate to his hands (the size of a 7-footer’s) and wingspan (6-foot-9): “I’d be like Magic [Johnson] or Oscar Robertson.”
  • In the Celtics organization, only Danny Ainge has better peripheral vision than Rondo.
  • On road trips, Rondo remembers how to get to destinations he’s been once.
  • Rondo can toss a football 80 yards, or so says Ainge.
  • With a tire around his waist, Rondo beat Celtics assistant GM Ryan McDonough in the 40-yard dash.
  • Bucks coach Scott Skiles: “If you’re not careful, you get paralyzed watching him.”
  • This pass to Ray Allen last season was Rondo’s favorite assist. “It was a risky play, but I’m a risky player.”

  • Rondo solved equations in a way one high school algebra teacher has never seen before.
  • Rondo takes five showers on game days and drinks five waters on his way to the arena. “I’m a little OCD.”
  • Rondo’s love for Kendrick Perkins never dies. “It still seems like we’re trying to replace Perk.”
  • Rondo is 3.5 percent body fat.
  • Rondo spreads a lot of butter on his bread.
  • Rondo thinks heavy weightlifting will hinder his quickness.
  • Rondo plays cornhole with his neighbor, even in the winter. “I’m ranked No. 1.”
  • Rondo on the assist streak: “I don’t give a damn about that.”
  • Prior to Rondo shoving Kris Humphries into the stands, the Nets called the Celtics soft. “I wasn’t looking to fight,” Rondo told his high school coach, Doug Bibby. “I had no choice.”
  • Doc Rivers: “He’s a volcano. But I’d rather a volcano that can erupt than one that’s extinct.”
  • Growing up, Rondo didn’t watch the NBA.
  • Rondo was suspended for half his freshman season and three times as a sophomore.
  • Bibby: “He was a terrible student, but he was smart as hell.” The Eastern (Louisvilly, Ky.) High basketball coach taught math. He gave Rondo different tests than his classmates for fear he was cheating. It didn’t matter. Rondo passed them all with flying colors despite not turning in his homework, showing up without books and often sleeping in class. One day, Bibby woke Rondo from his slumber, asked him to answer a geometry question, and Rondo did, correctly. Good Will Rondo.
  • Rondo’s eyes see better than most game films. Of course, he’s pretty good at breaking down game film, too.
  • Rondo’s mom Amber almost moved the family to North Carolina along with her job at the Philip Morris factory. “If we had gone,” said Rondo, “I don’t where I’d be right now — maybe jail.”
  • Josh Smith on his Oak Hill Academy roommate: “I remember one night he had 29 assists, and the next night he had 31. It was like playing with Michael Vick, and I was the only guy who could catch his passes.”
  • Rondo on the 2008 title season: “Everybody was asking for the ball. I had to keep track of all their shots. It was like, Paul [Pierce] has 17, and Ray only has seven, so I better get it to Ray. I got cussed out a few times.”
  • Brandon Jennings: “He’s not like D-Rose or Deron Williams or Tony Parker, who keep you on your toes every night. He’ll talk trash and get physical. At one point I thought we were going to fight.”
  • Rondo has an infant son, Rajon Rondo Jr. We already knew about his 5-year old daughter Ryelle.
  • Glen Davis: “He is one of my best friends. But on the floor he is a stone-cold killer, trained by Kevin Garnett.”
  • Rondo watches Celtics replays at 2 a.m., and texts Garnett at 4 a.m. KG often responds.
  • Garnett: “Rondo has been bred by the culture we created. He is carrying on the tradition.”
  • Ainge: “He’s the smartest guy in the room, and the most stubborn.”

Apparently, Rondo declined interviews after his injury, so the one thing that wasn’t addressed is how he will respond to seeing the Celtics succeed in an uptempo style during his absence. But maybe he doesn’t need to answer any of those questions. If this Jenkins piece is any indication, Rondo’s smart enough to adapt.

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