Professional athletes have bizarre superstitions. Whether it’s a lucky piece of clothing, a particular playlist, a specific way of tying their shoes, or a standard pregame meal, you’d struggle to find a player in any sport who doesn’t have some kind of routine or tic. Rondo, however, takes it to an unheard of level.
Where some athletes are saying an “Our Father,” Rondo is going to a full Roman Catholic Mass. Where some players are eating the same chicken meal, Rondo is having Roman Colosseum-esque wild beast hunts.
Speaking to ESPN, Jason Terry dished on Rondo’s ritual.
“His routine is long-winded and it lasts all the way through tip-off. It starts in the back hallway. He runs down a corridor and he throws the ball to our team chaplain, who throws it back. Then [Rondo] runs out into a circle, high-fives the whole team and then he does the layup lines for five minutes.
“Then he will stand under the goal and Paul Pierce will shoot every ball on the rack from half court. Rondo will catch four balls at one time and then after that, it’s just amazing — one pass off the backboard to KG, one bounce pass to Paul Pierce and then he throws it all the way up to the scoreboard and Jeff Green finishes with an alley-oop.
“It’s every game, even road games. I have no idea how he started it; I’m new to the team. I was still going through layup lines and I almost got hit with one of those balls in the head. I wasn’t aware that’s what they were doing. It threw me off.”
Let’s break this down. First, he gets a ball blessed by the Chaplain. Nothing too strange there, I suppose. Then he “high-fives the whole team.” The whole team. So, everyone else just stands around waiting for their role in Rondo’s circus. Nobody can have their own routine. Pierce then yucks a rack of balls from half court. This is revealing…basically, the entire team’s success is hanging by a thread, as grandpa Pierce comes inches from throwing out his back before every single game. Comforting.
Next, he tosses passes to KG, Paul, and Green and they finish. What the hell is everyone else doing? Watching? Twiddling their thumbs? Do they all get their high fives and go sit on the bench while the Rondo Globetrotters finish their act? And how far is this going to go? Are we going to see Brandon Bass in a fedora riding a tiny tricycle? Is Sully going to don a leotard and jump from the backboard into a glass of water?
Is this as bizarre Kevin Rhomberg’s “if you touch me, I have to touch you back” tic, Turk Wendell’s licorice and toothbrush routine, or Bruce Gardiner’s habit of dipping his stick in the toilet before each game? Not quite. Would I rather Rondo wear a magical gold thong, Jason Giambi style? Certainly not. But this is is pretty damn elaborate.