OKLAHOMA CITY If it has to do with Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, it goes without saying that his best friend, Kendrick Perkins, is going to be one of the first to know.
So naturally, when Rondo learned on Wednesday -- his 26th birthday -- that he was chosen as an All-Star replacement for Atlanta's Joe Johnson, Perkins got word quickly.
For a change, though, Perkins didn't have to go anywhere; not with Rondo at his Edmond, Okla. home.
Even though Rondo would not play (league suspension) in Wednesday's 119-104 loss to Perkins and the Oklahoma City Thunder, that didn't stop him from spending his birthday -- and the great news about being an All-Star -- with Perkins.
"You could tell, it brightened up his day," Perkins told CSNNE.com. "You could tell, he felt like he should have been in there in the first place."
"He deserved it," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "He played terrific basketball. It's great for him, great for the organization; great for the league. Now we know the league doesn't hold grudges. Because they suspend him for two games, and then name him to the All-Star (team)."
At first, when Rondo was passed over, he tried to act as if it didn't bother him.
"It is what it is," he told the media.
At first, he had similar words for Perkins.
But Perkins wasn't buying it.
"I knew it was bothering him," Perkins said.
What tipped Perkins off was when Rondo went out and had 32 points and 15 assists against Chicago, and followed that up with 35 points against Detroit.
Both breakout games were played shortly after the league announced the Rondo-less All-Star reserves.
"Any time he comes out and he's aggressive on the offensive end, where he's taking shots ... I already knew what time it was," Perkins said. "He was going out there and making a statement."
And that statement was clear.
Rondo was out to prove that he was indeed an All-Star worthy player, although those who have to coach against him didn't really need a lot of convincing. The biggest issue that most had with him was that he had missed eight games. And by the time the coaches had to turn in their ballots (Feb. 7), he had only been back a couple games from his wrist injury and looked a little rusty, which was to be expected.
"Whether he plays in it or not, Rajon Rondo is an All-Star," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau told CSNNE.com prior to Rondo being chosen as an All-Star replacement. "He's one of the best in the game. That's why in Boston, they're a Big Four now, not a Big Three."
While the snubbing certainly provided added motivation for Rondo, it also speaks to how he views himself in the pantheon of NBA point guards today.
"One thing about him, and I always say this, Rondo's got a quiet arrogance about himself; and he should," Perkins said. "He believes he's the best pure point guard in the league. And he always wants to make that statement. He don't care what nobody says. He wants to go out there and prove the world wrong."