And yet, they’ve somehow managed to come to hate each other’s existence. Rondo, in particular, seems to want to fart in Thomas’ general direction.
When they both got ejected for a tussle on Wednesday night, the confrontation wasn’t all that surprising. Rondo threw his elbows around in truly unnecessary fashion — Thomas reacted by pushing and shoving. They quickly got the boot.
This feud all about jealousy.
Boston loved Thomas more than they loved Rondo. And so Rondo hates Thomas, which makes Thomas hate Rondo.
But more specifically, Rondo’s grudge stems from a tribute video for Thomas that never even aired. That became abundantly clear from Thomas’ postgame interview after the Pelicans’ 139-117 win.
“For whatever reason, he’s an upset guy about me. I don’t know what it is, but it’s fine. He kept bringing the tribute up, when I was the one that shut the tribute down. I’m far past that. I’m on the Lakers trying to figure out how to help this team win.”
The Celtics had prepared to air a video to thank Thomas for his excellent play with Boston before Danny Ainge traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers. That tribute video was going to play in Sunday’s Celtics-Cavaliers matchup, which was the same night the Celtics had a ceremony to retire Paul Pierce’s jersey. Rondo didn’t love the idea.
“What has he done? This is the Boston Celtics. This isn’t the Phoenix Suns, no disrespect to any other organization, but you don’t hang conference titles. Do we hang going to the conference finals? What do we hang here?”
Thomas thanked the Celtics for the gesture, but asked them not to air the video in his honor on Pierce’s big night. Of course, the Cavaliers traded Thomas to the Lakers before that night. He wasn’t even in the stadium for Pierce’s ceremony. Thomas was playing for the Lakers.
But Rondo apparently still cared about the Celtics’ non-gesture, which never happened and was never really going to happen. That’s how the altercation happened on Wednesday.
Rondo, who played fourth fiddle behind Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, probably wishes he’d gotten the recognization and adoration Boston gave Thomas, who was dubbed “The King in the Fourth.” But Rondo’s inclination to start this fight is exactly why he was never loved in Boston. He’s a jerk. No one likes playing with Rondo. No one likes rooting for Rondo.
So Rondo, who won a championship with the Celtics in 2008, immediately bodied up Thomas in their first matchup against each other since the tribute video drama (which shouldn’t have ever been dramatic). And Rondo got under Thomas’ skin.
And here we are, laughing about Rondo’s pettiness — again.