One of the later additions to the Los Angeles Lakers in the offseason was veteran point guard Rajon Rondo making his return to the team after a year away. Bringing in another playmaker and someone familiar with the team and Frank Vogel’s schemes made a ton of sense, but there were some concerned about Rondo’s prior history with new Lakers star Russell Westbrook.
Both are known as intense competitors, but things seemed to bubble over in the 2020 playoffs inside the bubble when Westbrook was a member of the Houston Rockets. During the fourth quarter of the final game of the series, Westbrook got in an argument with Rondo’s brother William, who was talking trash from the stands. William was ultimately ejected from the arena as the Lakers finished off the series.
After the game, Westbrook spoke about fans in general needing to watch what they say to players on the court while Rondo, of course, defended his brother. But Rondo made it clear that that incident is not something that caused any lingering issues between himself and his new Lakers teammate.
“It actually wasn’t me and Russ, it was actually my brother,” Rondo reminded everyone of during Lakers Media Day. “Russ and I, we’ve been competing for so long. He’s one of the best, one of the ultimate competitors I’ve ever played against in my career. I love competing against Russ; I know he’s going to bring it every night. I know he’s looking to destroy me and likewise, I’m looking to destroy him. So there’s no better feeling than to go against someone that plays at a high level that you respect and that’s gonna bring it.”
This is something that is echoed regularly throughout all of sports by the best players. The elite love playing against those great competitors who bring it at all times and push them to be even better. There is always a level of respect to those greats and that is the case with Rondo and Westbrook.
There may have been some issues in that moment, but that is in the distant past now for both players and will, in no way, prevent them from coming together to try and bring the Lakers another championship.
Rondo ‘almost cried’ from Lakers fan reception in preseason opener
Rondo has spoken openly about his graciousness towards LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers organization for wanting him back this season. But one thing he wasn’t prepared for was how happy the Lakers fans were to see him back in purple and gold.
After his time with the Celtics, it is something no one ever could have guessed, but Rondo has become a beloved member of the Lakers and the fan response in his first action with the Lakers this season really touched him. Rondo admitted that he almost cried at the reception he got when checking in, and he had to really try and focus on the game.
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