Rondo on 'chummy' All-Star experience
WALTHAM, Mass. -- It's somewhat appropriate that Rajon Rondo's eyebrows quizzically shot skyward when asked Thursday about the "chummy chummy" nature of the NBA All-Star game. Rondo said he was unfamiliar with the term -- playfully suggesting it must be Boston vernacular -- and soon decried how All-Star weekend is a pretend lovefest for rivals.
Rondo, a comfortable cushion in the third and final return for All-Star voting, is expected to be named a starter for the 62nd annual game when final tallies are revealed Thursday evening. Rondo was on pace to share the Eastern Conference starting backcourt with Miami's Dwyane Wade, who earlier this season dubbed a Rondo flagrant foul in the season-opener a "punk play."
Meanwhile, Rondo's teammate Kevin Garnett was in position to land a spot in the East frontcourt alongside Miami's LeBron James and New York's Carmelo Anthony. We probably don't need to remind you about the bus-side gathering last week at Madison Square Garden.
So will Rondo be hanging out with Wade and Melo that weekend?
"Why would I?" asked Rondo.
Rondo was somewhat uneasy about talking about his potential fourth consecutive All-Star game -- and first as a fan-voted starter -- preferring to wait until he got the official call. But he dubbed himself an "entertainer" and said his desire to "put on a show" might have helped his cause with the voting public.
Here's one thing he was definitive on: Rondo won't be very social if he lands at this year's mid-February classic.
"No, I don’t do much socializing," he said. "If I make it, I hope one of my homeboys makes it, [Atlanta's] Josh Smith. If he makes it, KG makes it, we’ll all [hang out]."
Just don't expect any members of the Knicks or Heat to get an invite. Rondo noted on Thursday, "I don’t try to be friends with anyone outside my team."
One place you might catch Rondo is at the rookie/sophomore game on All-Star Saturday night. He said if teammate Jared Sullinger is selected to the game -- and Rondo believes he should be -- Rondo will park himself courtside to lend support, noting how Garnett did the same for him when Rondo played for the sophomores in 2008.
Asked if he wanted Rondo and Garnett showing the 20-year-old Sullinger "the ropes" at All-Star weekend, Rivers humorously responded, "I’m going to say, 'No.'" Then bashfully asked where All-Star festivities were this season (this after being amazed that balloting had already concluded). Informed that it's Houston, Rivers relented a bit, "Well, yeah, maybe that would be good that they show him the ropes."
While Rivers said he would be happy to see his guys at All-Star weekend, he also wouldn't be opposed to Rondo and Garnett simply getting some extended rest before the second half of the season. Even still, he admitted it would be remarkable for Garnett to earn a 15th All-Star bid, particularly at age 36.
"I would prefer to have more rest, personally," said Rivers. "[An All-Star nod for] Rondo is great, but for Kevin, at this point of his career -- I don’t think he made it last year and now he’s going to make it this year; that just tells you a lot about him."
Rivers said his plans for All-Star weekend are locked in. He's headed home to Orlando. Asked if his plans could feature a detour if son, Austin, was elected to the rookie/sophomore game, Rivers said those plans were set in stone.
"[Austin] could start in the All-Star game and I’m going home," joked Rivers.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL reporter Field Yates covers expectations for Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots' outlook, LeSean McCoy's injury and Alex Smith's contract negotiations with the Chiefs.
Play Podcast Buster Olney and Justin Havens discuss how teams that made major deals have fared since the deadline. Plus, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer on the strange circumstances caused by weather.