Dooling played just one season for the Celtics but during that time the veteran guard developed a close relationship with the team's enigmatic point guard. In an interview with CSNNE's Jessica Camerato, Dooling goes as far as putting Rondo in the rareified air of the NBA's elite — and ahead of LeBron James.
"[Rondo]’s the second-best player in the league. He didn’t make the USA Team,
sometimes he’s a replacement for the All-Star Game," said Dooling. "He’s the epitome of
an unselfish player. He rebounds the basketball, he affects the game in
five statistical categories.
"Not only do I think he’s the second-best player in the NBA behind Kevin
Durant, but I think he is an amazing leader. I think he doesn’t get a
fair shake in the media and I wish they knew my friend the way I did."
It is no secret that there is no love lost between the Celtics and Heat, so the fact that this compliment to Durant and Rondo also serves as a thinly veiled jab at James is no surprise. While Dooling may have an argument when talking about Rondo's widespread impact, the only player in the league that is more of a triple-double threat on a nightly basis is James.
Despite outplaying both Durant and Rondo en route to a championship, James still has his detractors and year after year has to prove himself to be what he most likely already is: the best player in the NBA.
James kept all the negative articles and tweets in mind on his way to the 2012 championship and he will likely file Dooling's omission away as well for when he needs that extra boost against Boston this season.
Photo via Flickr/Keith Allison