Rajon Rondo wants you to know that there’s another side to Chris Paul. The Houston Rockets guard isn’t always the approachable guy you see hanging out with Oscar (from The Office) on State Farm commercials.
After the NBA gave a three-game suspension to Rondo and a two-game suspension to Paul for their confrontation on Saturday (which may or may have involved spitting), Rondo tried to reset the record on Paul in a recent interview with ESPN:
“Of course, the NBA went with his side because I got three games and he got two. Everyone wants to believe Chris Paul is a good guy. They don’t know he’s a horrible teammate. They don’t know how he treats people. Look at what he did last year when he was in L.A.; trying to get to the Clippers’ locker room. They don’t want to believe he’s capable of taunting and igniting an incident.
” … He comes out and says I spit and the media sides with that.”
The incident started after Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram picked a physical fight with James Harden and verbal fight with referee Jason Phillips. That escalated to a brawl involving Rondo and Paul. Rondo appeared to spit on Paul. Paul poked Rondo in the face, so Rondo responded by throwing the first punch. Paul threw punches back. Mayhem ensued.
And the NBA doled out suspensions like Oprah. (You get a suspension and you get a suspension and you get a suspension.)
While speaking with ESPN, Rondo vehemently denied intentionally spitting on Paul. He argued that he was wearing a mouthguard, and wouldn’t have been able to make a concerted effort to spit. He also said that Eric Gordon and Carmelo Anthony were in direct line of sight of the incident and would’ve seen the spit.
“Y’all are playing me with these tricks or these mind games, tampering with the evidence. Ain’t no way that I intentionally spit on you with my body language the way it was.
“One, if I spit on you, bottom line, there is not going to be no finger-pointing. If you felt that I just spit on you, then all bets are off. Two, look at my body language. If I spit on you on purpose, I’m going to be ready for a man to swing on me. You ain’t going to have my hands on my hip and my head look away at someone if I spit on them. After the [expletive] goes down, within 30 seconds, you run and tell the sideline reporters that I spit on you? If I spit on you, you are trying to get to me. You not trying to make up a story so you can look like a good guy. It makes no sense to me.
“I was going to let it rest. I wasn’t going to say much. But now I have kids and I teach my kids to speak up for themselves and don’t let the world tell their story.”
With the NBA already doling out punishment, the only court of opinion left is that of the public. So… who do you believe?