The Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has been widely touted as a potential MVP candidate come season end, but if he keeps up with the immature antics all season long, it’s going to be hard for him to nail down the MVP award, or help his team to an NBA Championship for that matter.
Rondo was involved in an altercation Wednesday night after Kris Humphries fouled Kevin Garnett late in the second quarter.
Humphries definitely fouled Garnett, but it seemed to be a bit embellished by Garnett if anything. The response from Rondo was to shove Humphries, inciting an all-out brawl between the two teams.
Rondo and Humphries both ended up getting ejected, and the Celtics ultimately went on to lose the game, 95-83.
It all seemed a lot more serious in regular time, but you go ahead and take a look for yourself, and tell me what you think about the whole altercation.
What happened in the altercation was a sell by Garnett, followed an overreaction by Rondo that’s now being called “brave” just because he went up and shoved a bigger guy. Rondo was ejected, and his team lost.
It was Rondo’s immaturity at his finest.
This goes hand in hand with the absurd assist streak that Rondo, as well as the Celtics, were obsessed with over the course of the first 15 games of the season.
The biggest example of Boston, and Rondo’s, obsession with the streak came in a blowout loss to the Detroit Pistons in which Rondo was four assists away from netting 10 for the game.
They put Rondo back into the game with just under six minutes left, despite the fact that the team was down by 18 points. Was the game out of reach? It was about as close as a game can be without it becoming out of reach.
Rondo nabbed three more dimes, but the Celtics lost ground, and with under two minutes left in the game they were down by 20 and Rondo had nine assists, so Doc Rivers called a timeout.
The timeout wasn’t to take Rondo out, but to run a play for him to get another assist. Rondo turned it over.
Lucky for Rondo, Boston was able to get a rebound and Jared Sullinger hit a three-pointer for him.
There’s been an obsessive nature about Rondo’s assist-hawking play over the past few weeks, and it’s come at times to the detriment of his team hitting a trailer when a wide-open layup is available.
Not only has Rondo’s immaturity been a story for his entire career, he’s had a strange stretch this season that has rubbed folks the wrong way every step of the way, and with public opinion so can go MVP votes.
We’ve seen public opinion change the award race in the past, most notably in 1993 when Charles Barkley beat out Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan for the award. Hakeem and Jordan were Nos. 1 and 2 in the Defensive Player of the Year award voting, and Jordan yet again had a dominant year offensively.
However, Jordan had won the past two MVP awards, and the feeling was that voters were tired of Jordan winning the award.
In order to win the MVP award in today’s NBA, you surely don’t have to be a boy scout, but you’d better behave if you’re not running away with it.
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When Rose went down with his knee injury in the first playoff game last year, the song became more of a country lament. Like the prototypical cheatin’ husband, the Bulls’ postseason chances up and walked out the door.
So when this season rolled around, there was one question on every Bulls fan’s lips: When will Rose come back?
But now, there’s another question everyone’s asking, a question no one expected to be asking:
How long can the Bulls keep him out?
This is the new question because not only are the Bulls 3-1, but also because Danny Granger, star small forward on the Bulls’ chief Central Division rivals the Indiana Pacers, is expected to miss three months because of patellar tendinosis, with Bulls’ management getting ever more copious praise for their well-voiced plan to be cautious with Rose’s return.
And perhaps the praise is well-warranted. After all, if Chicago can stay in the hunt, there’s no reason to rush Rose back, right?
Not so fast.
Being overcautious is the obvious approach, the pragmatic approach, the safe approach. There is no chance that anyone in the front office would sit in front of a microphone or a reporter’s pad and say, “We want Derrick Rose to come back as quickly as possible.”
Rose is a human being whose health absolutely and unquestionably comes first. He’s also a huge asset to the Bulls from a business standpoint, and bringing Rose back when he isn’t ready means risking long-term disaster for short-term results. That’s just not a sensible move.
But here’s the thing about making these decisions based on what “the right thing to do” is: The decision will not be customized to the person.
Derrick Rose is not like every other player. GM Gar Foreman has said he’s never seen a player approach rehab with as much diligence as Rose. The kid’s been jumping, and shooting jumpers, since early September. You’ll never hear it from anyone involved in this recovery process, but Derrick Rose is ahead of schedule. And with his courage and fortitude, who’s surprised?
Doctors predicted eight to 12 months until Rose could play again. But as almost anyone who’s seen a doctor can tell you, doctors are often—perhaps even usually—wrong.
It is entirely possible that Derrick Rose can reduce his rehab through sheer force of will. And it’s happened before in pro sports.
The example that most recently comes to mind is Adrian Peterson. After tearing his ACL, the Vikings’ running back extraordinaire was in no way expected to return for the first week of the 2012 season. Yet, Peterson, who also rehabbed just as he plays—with intense purpose—is statistically having the best season since his rookie year, averaging over five yards a carry.
However, if Rose passes every on-court test, he’ll still have to run a gauntlet of doctors and team officials, who, though they won’t admit it, will be worried about lawsuits and media criticism just as much, if not more, than they will be about Rose’s long-term health.
The point is, nobody knows for sure how long a rehabilitation will take. It varies from person to person—and the person we’re talking about right now is Derrick Rose. Guys like Rose want the ball, want the last shot…and they want to play. If he happens to be ready early, to sit him out of mere prudence is showing disrespect to Rose and his superstar status.
Who can forget Michael Jordan’s flu-riddled masterpiece against Utah in the 1997 NBA Finals? Would doctors have told him he could play? Certainly not. But play Jordan did, and his performance is indelibly etched in the memory of every spectator who watched the force of nature that was Jordan work his magic before collapsing in Scottie Pippin’s arms.
Sure, sure, it’s not the same thing: Jordan had the flu, Rose has a severe injury. But it’s the same idea. An athlete knows his own body. Case in point: A month ago, Rose admitted he was scared to start cutting. He knew it might hurt or cause a setback.
See what I mean? Rose knows.
And if Rose knows, who are we to presuppose?
Amazing athletes have histories of doing amazing things despite injuries. Do you think Curt Schilling regrets playing on a bleeding ankle to beat the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the 2004 World Series? Does Willis Reed rue his decision to walk through that tunnel on an essentially broken leg in 1970′s NBA Finals Game 7, igniting his team and his city?
Tiger Woods probably regrets a whole lot of things—but I’m guessing his unforgettable, inspirational performance in the 2008 US Open is not one of them. Kirk Gibson has said he “feels fortunate” that he was able to limp out on two bum knees to hit his unforgettable pinch-hit home run in the 1988 World Series.
But apply overly cautious thinking to all of those moments—which comprise some of the greatest moments in the history of sports—and they vanish in a puff in smoke.
I’m not suggesting anyone ask the man to play injured, or even think about rushing the process. If the rehab process lasts a full 12 months, or even 14 or 20, no one should question it. But if Derrick Rose— reigning NBA MVP, heir to the Jordan mantle and leader of probably the only Eastern Conference team that, if healthy, can beat the Heat—stands up firmly on both legs and declares that he’s ready and then proves it to doctors, then by God, the powers that be had better acquiesce to him.
Otherwise, this litigation-skittish, judgement-averse culture that sports and society have conspired to create will triumph over one great player’s heart and determination…and rob the fans of a potential goosebump moment and finish to a season, the kind no one would ever forget, the kind people tell their kids and grandkids about.
And that would be a true shame.
Derrick Rose has earned every accolade he has received as a breathtakingly-talented NBA player.
He has also earned the right to demand his way back on the court when he’s ready.
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When asked how LeBron James could escape Michael Jordan’s shadow, Ray Allen’s answer was for LBJ to be politically active, as the cash-first Jordan was not. James has been, a lot. Ken Berger asks if this is a good thing.
NBA legend Michael Jordan said he thinks the team he owns, the Charlotte Bobcats, can be a destination franchise for free agents despite the fact they had the NBA’s worst record last season.
Michael Jordan could no longer hide his frustration midway through the Bobcats’ dismal season last year. Not wanting anyone to see how angry he was, Charlotte’s owner moved from his seat at the end of the team’s bench to his more secluded luxury suite hig
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Bobcats owner Michael Jordan says he’s ”in it for the long haul” when it comes to seeing his struggling franchise transformed into a consistent winner.
Michael Jordan obviously enjoyed quite the illustrious career. By his fourth season in the NBA, he’d already won Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player. He also had scored more than 3,000 points in a season, which is an accomplishment only Wilt Chamberlain had achieved.
Over the next decade, Jordan would go on to lead the Bulls to six titles, with help from Scottie Pippen and a rotating cast of teammates like Horace Grant, Toni Kukoc, Dennis Rodman and Ron Harper.
During that time, Jordan was the subject of plenty of stories. Here are 10 that will give a a better understanding of one of the NBA’s all-time greats.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — DeAndre Jordan had 18 points and 12 rebounds, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to an 88-71 exhibition victory over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.
Ronald Martinez/NBAE/Getty ImagesRussell Westbrook is the latest player to be tapped by Team Jordan.
The release in 1985 of the first Air Jordans (colloquially known now as Jordan 1s, but then as just Air Jordans) was a sensation if you were 12 years old. There were gadgets on the market that were alluring to teenage boys — new boomboxes with smart new features like dual cassettes and ones that came with cords so the batteries wouldn’t keep burning out — but the gift you wanted to see drop in December were a pair of new Air Jordans.