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Rajon Rondo on rehab, cornhole, wing-tipped shoes

11.22.13 at 9:55 am ET
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Rondo

As most interviews with Rajon Rondo do, his live chat with fans hosted by NBA TV’s Jared Greenberg for American Express began with some hilariously dry responses from the Celtics point guard, as he talked fashion for roughly five minutes. But Rondo warmed to the questions over the course of 17:42. Here’s what we learned.

He’s still not rushing his rehab.

“I’m anxious to get back out there, but I want to take my time, make sure this knee is healed 100 percent. I don’t want to rush back and have any second surgeries or get anything drained out of my knee. … I’m participating in some contact drills here and there, and as of now I’ve had no swelling, and I’m feeling pretty good.”

He plans to enter the World Championships of Cornhole.

“I saw a cornhole tournament on ESPN the other day, about a month ago, and I think I’ll probably try to enter next year and win that. I’m pretty good at that as well.”

Connect 4 comes more naturally to him than basketball, and roller skating is a close third.

“Probably Connect 4 — the most naturally. Or I could say basketball. I’ve been playing basketball for a long time, but I just love sports in general. I’ve always had a knack for competing, whether it was football, baseball, track. Anything I did, I’ve always wanted to be the best at it, so that’s a trickle down as far as Connect 4 or even skating. I always put a lot of time and practice in when I first started to [roller] skate, because I wanted to be the best.”

He wanted to join the NFL a couple years back.

“I’ve always wanted to switch another sport professionally. I’m not going to do it. It would probably have to be football. I played football. I’m OK. I’m not going to say that what those guys do is easy and it’s an easy transition. I thought about it a couple years ago, but now that’s past my time.”

He and Celtics coach Brad Stevens are still besties.

“He’s had a great open mind from Day 1, when he was hired. I think he came to my camp a week later. We sat down for about an hour and spoke basketball, spoke about my timetable return and just all aspects of the game, so we’ve been in a lot of communication. Actually, I went to a meeting with him a couple days ago in San Antonio, so we’re on the same page and we all have the same goal in mind.”

Avery Bradley “obviously” impresses him most.

“He plays so hard and unselfishly for his teammates, defensively and offensively, so he’s been a great asset to our team, but a lot of new guys have come in and played extremely hard. It’s just about finding the right combination for us right now as a team, but this season is early and guys are still pushing every day in practice.”

His fashion style is basically Jimmy Chitwood chic.

“I kind of got inspired by, I would say, the 1950s varsity look.”

  • When I’m off the court, my look is … “collegiate fresh.”
  • The one item in my closet I can’t live without is … “my wing-tipped shoes.”
  • When it comes to style, the thing I totally geek out on is … “varsity jackets.”

He understands this leadership thing.

“It’s not just me. It’s a team effort. There are a lot of guys in this locker room who are veterans. You have Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans. Coach Stevens is new, so it’s a team collective effort as far as leadership, but I do take on a huge part of the responsibility for this team, and that’s why I love to travel with the team. I’m here everyday in practice, I go to shoot-arounds, and I’m very vocal and speak up on what I feel is best needed for the team.”

Seriously, he’s got a grasp on this leadership thing.

“I’ve got a lot of young guys on the team, so I’m just trying to lead by example. I don’t talk too much. I go out every day, come to the gym early, put the work in, last one to leave the gym, put extra hours in, study, encourage my teammates and just lead by example. That’s pretty much the tradition. Go out there every night and play as hard as possible, play for your teammates, play for the jersey, the Celtics organization and play extremely hard.”

His approach to life involves swagger.

“I like to use my term on the court, ‘You’re never too high, never too low,’ but at the same time I’m a very confident player on and off the court, so that’s just my demeanor, that’s my swagger, and that’s just how I approach life.”

Kevin Garnett helped create his tip-off trickery.

“We started I think with the football hike. Kendrick Perkins was jumping, Jermaine O’Neal used to jump, and you could almost guarantee every night we’d win the tip, so I always thought of something unique to do to start the game off with a little swagger, a little flare in the jump-ball routine and get our team going.”

And Kobe Bryant didn’t enjoy that tip-off trickery.

“It’s a little bit of a distraction. It’s a funny story. I think it was in the finals, and I used to do it against the Lakers, and I was about to bounce the ball extremely high, but Kobe made a jump at me, because I guess he had seen my tip-off routine, and he was able to try to get the steal, but I caught him before he caught me.”

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