Rajon Rondo Creates Motivation for Himself With ‘Complaining’ Comment, Bringing to Mind Pedro Martinez’s Mind Games


Rajon Rondo Creates Motivation for Himself With 'Complaining' Comment, Bringing to Mind Pedro Martinez's Mind GamesLet us just establish right away that it does not matter if the Heat really are a bunch of whiners, as Rajon Rondo accused them of being during an on-air interview at halftime Sunday.

Maybe the Heat, who inexplicably escaped receiving technical fouls on a couple of loud protestations in Game 4, really do complain about calls more than the next team. Maybe it only seems that way because the Heat have LeBron James, whose every action is magnified. Either way, it is irrelevant.

The only aspect of Rondo's accusation that is relevant is that he made it, fully aware of the statement he was making. He perceived something less than honorable in Miami's demeanor, and he took it as yet another reason the Heat had to be beaten. In Boston, we've seen this before.

Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez may have been the king of creating slights of dubious authenticity to inspire himself to greatness. If an umpire called a borderline pitch a ball, well, that umpire must have had something against Martinez and his beloved family, and Petey was just going to show him by taking the game out of the ump's hands and getting every batter to swing and miss. He even cursed Babe Ruth, who died more than 23 years before Martinez was born, memorably declaring that he would "drill him" in the posterior.

Rondo probably will never be the quote machine Martinez was. On that count, Kevin Garnett is a closer cousin to the future Hall of Fame righty. Yet Garnett seems to be as incited by interior forces as exterior ones. With as often as Garnett talks to himself, there must be someone else inside there with him, feeding him a constant stream of inspiration like an IV drip.

Like Martinez, though, Rondo seems to almost need some sort of outside influence to light his competitive fire. Rondo's ability to find such motivation has been inconsistent, but in the Eastern Conference Finals he has discovered precisely the fuel he requires to deliver the performances the Celtics need.

"He's a great basketball player, and now he's consistent," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after Rondo went for 15 points and 15 assists as Boston evened up the series at 2-2. "That's when you cross the line, when you're no longer inconsistent."

Rondo crosses a whole lot of other lines as well, in the eyes of most opposing fans. To the sizable portion of non-Celtics fans who believe Rondo is a juvenile punk, his kick to Shane Battier, which drew a deserved technical foul, was another example of his delinquency.

Rather than get indignant and try to argue with those fans, though, perhaps Celtics supporters should thank them. Yankees fans thought Martinez was a brat, and despite the "Who's your daddy" cliché, Martinez held New York to 170 hits over 806 at-bats in his career. Martinez won a World Series and two Cy Young Awards in Boston with a persona most of baseball could not stand.

Put another way, which would you rather have, a player everyone loves to face or one that opponents and opposing fans cannot stand? Really, that should not be a very difficult choice.

It does not matter to the Celtics how Rondo gets to his place of greatness, only that he gets there with regularity. However he does it, and if the items he uses for motivation even actually exist, is hardly important.

Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.

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