BOSTON — Rajon Rondo will sit in for Tom Heinsohn on Monday, but he won’t take over Heinsohn’s role as the chief berator of referees.
At least, not to the same extent, Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens hopes.
“I don’t know that that would be taken as well for a current player to be so critical,” Stevens said with a half-smile. “Mike (Gorman) will, I’m sure, director the conversation appropriately.”
Rondo will join play-by-play man Gorman as color commentator for the first quarter of Monday’s game in Chicago, which Rondo has long been slated to miss, as it is the second end of a back-to-back. It will be Rondo’s first foray into announcing, not that he sounds intimidated.
“I’m practicing, I’m prepping,” Rondo said. “I just figured it’d be something to do with Mike and Tommy. I’ve known them since I’ve been here and they’ve always been generous to me. I just see it as a chance to do something different, have a little fun with Mike.”
Rondo said he caught the announcing bug late one night while watching a replay of a Celtics game a few weeks ago. “I was pretty fascinated by how good Mike is,” Rondo said, and later approached the longtime announcer about possibly joining him for a game. Because Heinsohn no longer provides color for every game, Gorman has teamed with former player Cedric Maxwell, legendary NBA reporter Jackie MacMullan and ESPN columnist Bill Simmons for various games this season.
Gorman then approached Stevens, who signed off on the plan. As a former coach in college, which was the end of the line as far as playing for most of his former players, Stevens is enthusiastic any time a player dips his toe into a potential career beyond playing basketball.
“I think it’s great that he’s interested in doing that,” Stevens said. “He’s a guy that understands the big picture of, right now he’s a professional basketball player, but in 10 years, 12 years, he won’t be. So what does he do from there? These are great opportunities for him to grow and maybe find something down the road that he likes to do.”
While supportive, Stevens also wants Rondo to be careful not to be too good. Stevens wants Rondo to explore other professional avenues and have some fun, but not give away the Celtics’ secrets.
“I think it’s great,” Stevens said. “Should be good insight. He knows he can’t give too much insight. We’ll go over all the rules on Monday in pretty good detail.”