Rajon Rondo’s Response To Ex-Teammate Ray Allen Retiring Is Cold-Blooded

by NESN Staff

November 1, 2016

When a player of Ray Allen’s caliber retires, it usually prompts a wave of glowing praise across the NBA. Apparently no one passed that memo to Rajon Rondo.

The Chicago Bulls point guard, of course, was teammates with Allen for five seasons on the Boston Celtics and won an NBA title with him in 2008. So, after Allen officially announced his retirement Tuesday morning, Rondo was asked for his reaction.

He reacted, all right.

First things first: We can kind of justify Rondo’s comments here, since Allen hadn’t played since the 2013-14 season and essentially had finished his playing career, even if he reportedly mulled a few comeback offers in the last two years.

But it’s impossible to consider the backstory between the two and not think Rondo is throwing a little shade at his ex-teammate. Paul Pierce told ESPN.com’s Jackie MacMullan in a 2015 interview that Allen had a “weird” relationship with his Celtics teammates, adding that the sharpshooter “probably didn’t like Rondo that much” and once bailed on a team dinner to celebrate Rondo re-signing with the Celtics.

Allen may have hinted at that odd dynamic in his Players’ Tribune retirement letter, which mentions Pierce and Kevin Garnett but not Rondo.

“When you get to the NBA, you won?t always play cards with the boys,” Allen writes. “Some people will assume you?re not being a good teammate.”

It’s possible we’re reading way too much into Rondo’s comments — or lack thereof — on Allen’s retirement, but he didn’t exactly heap platitudes on the 10-time All-Star as many others did throughout the day Tuesday.

Thumbnail photo via David Banks/USA TODAY Sports Images

I’d say it kind of started in the 80’s as I remember it. In the early 80’s and 70’s, usually the same 11 guys were on the field for every play, and then you got a little bit to the third receiver, but the tight ends were pretty good and those guys were good receivers – they weren’t really guys you were looking to take off the field. So you played the same 11 guys on offense, you played the same 11 guys on defense. There was a little bit of nickel defense in the late 70’s where teams would put in a defensive back for a linebacker, but it was the same thing. It was just kind of a one-for-one substitution. Then I think you saw teams like Washington when [Joe] Gibbs was there have the big back, whether it was George Rogers or [John] Riggins or whoever it was, and then they had [Joe] Washington or Kelvin Bryant or that type of player as their sub back, and it would be a true one-for-one situation. We did that at the Giants, had a lot of success with [Dave] Meggett, Tony Galbreath, guys like that. That was into the late 80’s and the 90’s and then a lot of teams started doing it where they found that third-down back first of all was less of a load for one guy to be out there for every single play, and then secondly the skills of that player, ability to separate and have quickness and make plays with his hands in the passing game as opposed to just the ball carriers, sometimes you could have both instead of just trying to find one guy to do everything, which is harder … There are always going to be some backs in the league that can do that, but I think it was a little easier to find two guys rather than find one who can do everything or find two – one to do it and one guy to back him up. It was a way of splitting the load. So I’d say that’s kind of evolved, evolved trough the mid-80s and by probably a decade later it’s the way a lot of teams were going. When you had guys like Tony Dorsett and Billy Sims and Thurman Thomas and guys like that, you didn’t need to sub anybody. You put them in there, do whatever you want with them – throw it to them, run 20 times a game. They were all really good at that. But the specialization gives in particular with Washington and the guys that went on from his system like Dan Henning and guys like that. They adopted that same type of philosophy. Q: Who is the best one that you’ve coached? BB: We’ve been lucky. We’ve had a lot of good players at that position. Certainly Meggett was … And again it depends on what the guy’s role was. The thing about Meggett was he gave you all those plays in the kicking game – kickoff returns and punt returns, as well as third downs – so he was a very impactful player in terms of the number of times that he would catch the ball. Kevin [Faulk] probably caught more passes than Meggett did, but he didn’t have the same production in the return game. Probably had more production as a running back, actually carrying the ball. But going back to Tony Galbreath, he did a great job for us at the Giants.
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