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Rondo says his heart was not totally in Team USA adventure this summer

Sep 19, 2010, 5:56 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for rondo_team_usa.jpgUSA Basketball has a consistent history of coming up with excuses for the last cut from the team.

But in Rajon Rondo’s case this summer, they were more reasons that he withdrew as the 13th man. He told Ric Bucher of ESPN that he was hesitant to go in the first place (remember the in-or-out discussion that surrounding whether he would even try out?) but did so because of pressure. His agent Bill Duffy thought it was a good idea. Maybe because it would have helped get some endorsements to make up for the money he lost out on with his below-market contract.

In fact, if it had been up to Rondo, he never would have tried out for the USA squad that ended a 16-year drought by defeating Turkey for the 2010 FIBA World Championship title. Worn out from the Celtics’ narrow Finals loss to the Lakers, his mind on making up for it this season, missing his two-year old daughter, mourning the death of an uncle and disenchanted with European cuisine contributed to his subpar performance with the squad, he said, ultimately leading him to withdraw from the team….

“It was great to practice every day against the best young talent in the league, a veteran like Chauncey Billups and play for a Hall of Fame coach [Mike Krzyzewski],” Rondo said. “But some of these guys hadn’t played since April. Lamar [Odom] and I had just got out of Game 7. And next season is right around the corner. I feel like I had to take advantage of the opportunity I have right now to win another championship. It’s not often you get to play with four Hall of Famers. Another couple of years and I won’t have that.”

Nobody is really going to think less of Rondo for not playing (particularly after the team won the gold and hand quality guard play without him). And he’s right that he is only going to have so many shots at the Larry O’Brien trophy, so he needs to focus his energies.

But in the future — you’re all in or all out. Nothing halfway.

  1. Sal - Sep 19, 2010 at 7:01 PM

    Rondo Sucks! I said it before and I’ll say it again. He’s making excuses cause he had no choice to withdraw or get cut by the coach. Him being tired? dude is like 24. Bottom line there was better guard play than him. Even that dude from the Clippers was a better choice and coach K was right by keeping Eric Gordon over Rondo. This proves that come 2012, Bostonian fans, don’t hold your breath on Rondo having a chance in taking one spot on the Olympic team. Bottom line, Rondo can’t make 12 footers to save his life and his negative attitude is detrimental to the USA team. Clearly this outweigh his decent defensive and spreading the ball abilities.

  2. BpS - Sep 19, 2010 at 10:38 PM

    @Sal…You clearly don’t have a clue about basketball skills or have the ability to see the obvious. Rondo is an incredible guard that has already won an NBA Championship and is known by any and all as one of the best guards in the NBA. AND, he will only get better. So suck on that Sal, you whining loser.)

  3. Hoops McCann - Sep 19, 2010 at 11:49 PM

    Perhaps BpS you are the one that can’t see the obvious. Everything Sal said was on point and accurate. He never said that Rondo is not one of the best guards in the league. He said that “Rondo can’t make 12 footers (and I’ll add free throws) to save his life and his negative attitude is detrimental to the USA team. Clearly this outweighs his decent defensive and spreading the ball abilities.” Exactly what do you disagree with?
    Allen Iverson was the best guard in the league, better than Rondo, but also had an attitude detrimental to his teams. I mean did you read that Rondo said – “and disenchanted with European cuisine contributed to his subpar performance with the squad.”
    Are you kidding? The gourmet food was the problem! If that’s not the most spoiled punk-ass excuse you’ve ever heard I’d love to hear the one that is. Oh yeah, I’ve already heard it – How come the Lakers got 21 free throws in the 4th quarter of game 7, that’s why we lost.
    Suck on THAT!
    Haha LMFAO!

  4. Sal - Sep 20, 2010 at 2:20 AM

    Thanks Hoops McCann, is clear to me that the Rondo drones are so in love with him that they fail to see why Coach K made the right decision. And they won the Gold to prove it. As a point guard is a necessity to be able to MAKE the open shot. And Rondo is a liability in that regard. When the defense collapses and they spit the ball back to the point guard, he HAS to make the open shot! Especially in International Ball. Go USA! and in the Olympics, you bet that Wade and Kobe will want to be involved, thus leaving less room for Rondo on the USA Team. Is Rondo a top 10 point guard in the NBA? Yes, but he barely makes the cut because there’s clearly better talent than him. Hey Bps, I may not have the overall abilities of Rondo, ( good defensive player, good distributor, good fake bank shots ), but I Can Make 12 Footers during pressure situations and free throws and actually do know my fair share of Basketball play.

  5. David - Sep 20, 2010 at 5:00 AM

    Jezz, guys. Basketball players are human beings too, you know.
    The dudes uncle died, he says he missed his daughter, and he’d just come off an emotionally draining NBA playoff run.
    It’s not too hard for me to believe that his heart wasn’t in this thing. And that’s ok – because he’s human.

  6. Adam - Sep 20, 2010 at 6:06 AM

    Rondo wasn’t even being considered to be cut by the coaches when he made his decision. Despite the fact that Rondo couldn’t make a jump shot to save his life, there wasn’t a single guard on the US squad that could play off the ball besides Steph Curry. What was the point of having so many guards who create their own shots when it turned into the Kevin Durant show anyway? I don’t want to take anything away from any of the players or their win, but in my opinion, having a bunch of guards who could shoot midrange jumpers didn’t seem to affect the outcome of any of the games at all.

  7. Eric - Sep 20, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    Rondo doesn’t “suck”, he’s just a bad shooter. Otherwise, he’s one of the best point guards in the league. I’m a D-Rose fan and even I’ll admit that Rondo’s amazing. He just didn’t fit into Team USA’s plans, and I don’t blame him for not wanting to play due to being drained from the NBA Finals and his other issues. He just needs to commit one way or the other next time like the author says.

  8. thorsif2232 - Sep 20, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    If his heart wasn’t into it, then why did he try out? He could have told Coach K “Hey, I’m not feeling it” and went on his way. Rondo is a great basketball player, he just can’t make the jump shots needed to play international ball. He knew he was about to get cut and needed an easy way out as an excuse. Sorry, BpS, that the truth sometimes hurts. Don’t hate.

  9. surlybird - Sep 21, 2010 at 8:22 AM

    Rondo is a very good PG and a freak athlete. In FIBA you drive the lane you will get hit, they don’t call those ticky tack hand slap fouls. Once everyone figured out Rondo was not going to make a free throw to save the game he would have been hit hard to ensure that there was no “and 1”. Westbrook was the best guard on Team USA.

  10. JH - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    Rondo is surprisingly immature. He is the type of athlete who has innate talent and has never had to work hard to achieve it or maintain it. Instead of thinking of the FIBA as a chance to sharpen his skills and raise his stock, he simply blew it off, because he’s basically lazy. In part this explains why he has monster games one night and disappears for the next game. It also explains why his shot has never improved. He was right about one thing, his active playing years are very limited and every missed opportunity is one that can’t be made up.

  11. Oakley Fullwood - Sep 22, 2010 at 5:56 PM

    What is funny is that you can admit he’s young, and write him off in terms of improvement in the same sentence… prob. just don’t like the guy. Too bad you’ll be seein him and the eastern conference champs again this year. Must be hard hatin so much. It’s like a full time job.

  12. Pre - Sep 23, 2010 at 5:09 AM

    You saw wat happen in the finals this year. Rondo sucks! He couldn’t guard derek fisher , couldn’t make free throws , jump shots , and missed layups. If Nate Robinson started and rondo never played the celtics would of had a better chance in game 7. He talks about focusing on another championship…hahahahahahahaha never happening! Thank KG , Ray and sadly to say Perkins for your last and only one.. Any point guard can distribute the ball… As far as the USA team goes…. Excuses are like ***holes , Rose and Westbrook will fly by him and if catches up will dunk on his head ! And Chauncy can SHOOT obviously. He would of got cut , if not he would of wore different USA finger bands every game on the bench !

  13. MJM - Oct 3, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    I do not know that much about basketball, but I do know enough to be aware of the fact that a person body needs to rest. I was glad/happy when he realized he needed to be doing other things this summer than playing on a basketbsall team. All that running up and down the court at full speed is hard on your feet and knees. He is bright along with being an effective thinker. He made the right choice in letting USA team go this summer. I did not feel good about it when I heard he was trying out for the team. So many things in life today is only about money.

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