- The bad blood between Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo is nothing new but on a Sunday, they finally came to blows. The Crossover re-examines the fight and picks winners and losers.
The Chris Paul vs. Rajon Rondo beef is one that won’t stop spilling over. The two headstrong (literally!) point guards exchanged blows Sunday, but barbs were still flying back and forth a couple days later. A quick recap: After the fight, many people commented on LeBron’s decision to calm down Paul as opposed to his teammate Rondo. Glen “Big Baby” Davis agreed with strong assertions made by Rondo that Paul was a bad teammate. (Big Baby has played with both.) And Rockets GM Daryl Morey sent a thinly veiled tweet in response to Rondo’s comments. Meanwhile, Paul—who was last seen on a basketball court flailing haymakers into someone’s face—hasn’t commented while his now hilariously family friendly insurance commercials run during pretty much every NBA game. There’s only one way to sort through this mess. It’s time for WINNERS and LOSERS.
LeBron James: We’re Not Going To Do This
Breaking up fights is good.
Glen Davis: This Isn’t Your Fight
I hesitate to call Davis a loser here, but he’s also not winning by inserting himself in the conversation. Big Baby’s Clipper days weren’t exactly filled with highlights. Those were some incredibly high pressure moments for Paul, I don’t exactly blame him for not treating a notoriously not-in-great-shape teammate with kid gloves when the entire basketball world was blaming him for not winning a championship. Big Baby has had a, uh, unique post-playing career. In general, it feels like the less we hear about/from him, the better.
Brandon Ingram: Loser
When a Floyd Mayweather—a known bad person—is talking about how fighting has no place in basketball (as he did during an NBATV interview), then perhaps it’s time to reconsider your actions. Ingram hasn’t quite factored into the Paul vs. Rondo fallout, but what the hell was he thinking with that flying punch near the end of the fracas Sunday? That could have gone so much worse. And you’ve already heard this on every sports talkshow, but Ingram should have been suspended for longer. Fighting isn’t cool! The brief brawl (and resulting jokes) may have been entertaining, I won’t lie. I’d rather see Paul and Rondo go at each other that hard on the court. And Ingram’s suspension means we have to watch more Lance Stephenson. So when he loses, we lose too.
Doc Rivers: A Little Bit of a Winner!
Doc wasn’t exactly known for running the tightest ship in Boston and with the Paul-led Clippers. Sure, those teams were very successful, but they were also ego-filled time bombs that ended with drama and a whole lot of in-fighting. Rivers’s current Clippers team is actually quite fun! Ever since he’s been fully focused on coaching (and not general managering), Doc’s teams have competed well despite lacking top tier talent. All of this is to say, maybe Doc’s negative tendencies were exacerbated by having two absurdly intense point guards at the peak of their powers. Now he just looks like a good NBA coach.
Daryl Morey: Winner
I’ve always liked Morey’s social media presence, although now I have to immediately apologize for using the phrase “social media presence” before explaining why. Your tolerance for GM mythmaking may have you inclined to dislike Morey, but I appreciate that he’s not afraid to mix things up. Like, I’m pro-tampering. I loved when Houston’s owner said he wanted Jimmy Butler. So I like Morey sending not-subtle shots at opposing point guards. Give me more trash talk. Give me more front office execs publicly commenting on other team’s players. I want the NBA to be like the Wild West when it comes to this stuff. For now, we’ll appreciate Morey essentially calling Rondo a bad teammate in his own right:
Rajon Rondo: Loser
Bro. The Dallas Mavericks were so sick of you they basically asked you to leave the team in the middle of a playoff series. And then no one batted an eyelash when you were left off the list of players receiving their share of postseason money. The younger Bulls may have voted Rondo “best teammate,” but that was after the team suspended him for a game for throwing a towel at a coach and it briefly looked like he could be waived during the season. Rondo is currently on his sixth team since 2014, and he almost certainly won’t be back in L.A. next year. Clearly franchises have decided he’s not worth the headache. And he definitely spit on Chris Paul! Rondo calling anyone a bad teammate is laughable.
I’m also really tired of his cerebral, Connect Four-savant reputation mostly giving him a pass for his behavior. I don’t care how high Rondo’s IQ is on or off the court. He’s been a defensive liability for a long time, after admitting he stopped trying on that end in Boston. Teams continue to move on from him after one season. And his stupid grudge against Ray Allen is incredibly childish. I don’t see how this situation has helped him in any way.
Chris Paul: Not a Winner
As satisfying as it may have been for some to see Paul get punched in the face, or see Paul punch Rondo in the face, this man is too old to be fighting during a basketball game. Paul is in his 14th season. He’s 33 years old. He’s the head of the damn Players Association. I understand he got spit on, but maybe that would have been the time to diffuse the situation with one of his comical flops as opposed to poking someone in the eye(???) I don’t think Paul went full loser here—after all, he did get spit on, and Rondo swung first. But it’s definitely not winning when you’re one of the greatest point guards of all time and in the second game of the season you’re brawling with someone on a team that is, frankly, not in your weight class. Paul’s competitiveness is his most polarizing aspect. I think it’s fun when he’s shimmying in other people’s faces. But I can’t support him channeling that energy into an uppercut.