Shaq Thinks The President Of The United States Messed Up Rajon Rondo’s Jump Shot
Glenn Davis 06:48 pm, August 17th, 2011
Of all the things said about President Barack Obama, this ranks among the most interesting accusations: Shaquille O'Neal thinks the president had an effect on Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo'smuch-maligned jumper. Apparently, Rondo and some other Celtics got the chance to hang out with Obama earlier this year, and in a recently-released excerpt from his upcoming book Shaq Uncut, written with Jackie MacMullan, Shaq details how one line from the encounter (might have) impacted his teammate:
In early March some of the guys went to the museum of Fine Arts for a fund-raiser and got to hang with President Barack Obama. Everyone was a little bit in awe. The President turns to Ray, points at Rondo, and says, “Hey, Ray, why don’t you teach this kid how to shoot?” Everyone starts laughing.
KG told me he saw the look on Rondo’s face and the kid was devastated, embarrassed. Dissed by the President, even though I’m sure Obama didn’t mean any harm. Rondo smiled and went along with all of it, but KG told me he could see it in his eyes. It bothered Rondo. It killed him.
The next day Rondo shot the ball horribly. He stopped taking shots after that. He’s so sensitive. I think it was a real jolt to hear the outside perception of a basketball fan who happens to be the President of the United States. It messed with his mind. I’m sure of it.
Of course, that's nothing that hasn't been said a million times about Rondo's jumper, but coming from the source, one sees how he might take it to heart a bit more, even if, as Shaq says, it was only meant as some harmless trash talk. Then again, if this really got under Rondo's skin - and impacted his game - as much as Shaq says it did, it might give us some doubt about Rondo's mental game. If Obama tried trash-talking Michael Jordan, Jordan would probably announce an NBA comeback then and there and curse Obama's name after every made basket.
We have our doubts that Rondo was truly that traumatized, though. No matter how much Garnett "could see it in [Rondo's] eyes" that he was hurt, it's tough to draw a straight line between any one event and a poor shooting night. And again - this is Rajon Rondo. His jumper has never been reliable at any point in his career. An off night shooting for Rondo is...just a night, pretty much.
It's possible Rondo was bothered by the president's smack talk to some extent - we probably would be. But to let it get to him that much? Rondo is a fine player, who's carved out a good career paying at the highest level of basketball there is. He didn't get that good by being easily rattled. We're sure he's heard plenty about how he's not a good shooter over the years - maybe this bit of criticism stung more than most, but we have a little more confidence than Shaq that ultimately, it didn't make a huge difference.