Friday FT's: Rondo Makes a Call; Shaq Ranks Himself

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Friday FT's: Rondo Makes a Call; Shaq Ranks Himself

Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that have not made the headlines but are still worth a read. In spite of the NBA lockout, there's still plenty of hoops to talk about.

Rajon Rondo is used to making calls for the Boston Celtics. During the lockout, he is making calls of a different kind.

Rondo has been spending time at his alma mater, the University of Kentucky, and watching the mens basketball team closely. He recently called head coach John Calipari and asked if he could offer his input, WDRB.com reported:

I got an interesting call from Rondo after the game, who says, 'Do you mind if I call the kids? I took some notes about the game.' I'm like absolutely. Call them and tell them what you think. John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson were at the game, and then they want to be there and be a part of it. It shows we're a family. This is what we're trying to build here."

On the topic of Rondo, let's revisit his series of videos for Foot Lockers Educators campaign. Monday's lesson was on the "Drama of Quickness." Rondo, er, "Mr. Rondo," explained, "To be in a Rondo production, you've got to stick to the script or be quick. If you can't do that, play golf, or chess, or taking a computer programming class or something." Point taken.

Shaq Doesnt Think THAT Highly of Himself

Shaquille O'Neal recently ranked his top five NBA centers on SportsCenter, and who he slated fifth was far more surprising than who he put first. Bleacher Report has the rundown, where Shaq ranked himself number five, followed by Hakeem Olajuwon, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bill Russell.

In spite of ranking Abdul-Jabbar second, O'Neal expressed displeasure with him in his book, Shaq Uncut: My Story. The Los Angeles Times posted the excerpt: Kareem was never around. And, whenever I did see him, he usually ignored me. The disappointing thing to me was, being in LA all those years and trying to fill those shoes, I would have liked to have a conversation with him."

Like Father, Like Son

Before we get to former Celtic Sam Cassell in birthdays of the week below, lets start with a few notes on him and his son who is following in his fathers footsteps.

Cassell was recently inducted into the Maryland state Athletic Hall of Fame. "To go into any Hall of Fame is great," he said, wrote PressBoxOnline.com. Cassell said. "To go in with the men and women here tonight is beyond belief. Vince Bagli, I grew up watching Vince Bagli, and Sean Landeta. I grew up watching Sean win Super Bowls for the Giants."

While Cassell reflected on his career, his son is looking to start his own. Sam Cassell, Jr. The 6-foot-4 guard is ranked as one of Baltimore's top guards, according to the Baltimore Sun -- "The Nike Baltimore Elite prospect will likely end up at a high-major or mid-major-plus program."

Celtics Tweet of the Week

@CharleeRedz13: I ain't got no health insurance at the moment....nor do my ....13depemdents....kids get sick around this time of year....

Celtics Birthdays of the Week

Kevin Gamble turned 46 on November 13. Gamble played six seasons for the Celtics during the late 1980searly 1990s . . . David Wesley turned 41 the following day. He played three seasons for the Cs, including 1996-97 in which he averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 assists per game . . . Sasha Pavlovic celebrated his 28th birthday on November 15. Pavlovic played 17 games for the Celtics last season after signing as a free agent in March 2011 . . . Two-time NBA champion and seven-time All-Star Jo Jo White turned 65 on November 16. White is still involved with the Celtics organization as the Director of Special Projects . . . Sam Cassell turned 42 on November 18. Cassell signed with the Celtics during the 2007-08 season and lent his veteran experience to their championship run.

This Week in Celtics History

On November 18, 1969, the Celtics traded Bob Cousy to the Cincinnati Royals in exchange for Bill Dinwiddie. Cousy played 13 seasons for the Cs and won six world championships in Boston. Dinwiddie played one season for the Celtics before being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971.

Crowder on Wizards' all-black 'funeral' plans for Celtics: 'That's cute!'

Crowder on Wizards' all-black 'funeral' plans for Celtics: 'That's cute!'

The Washington Wizards plan to roll into tonight’s game against the Celtics donning all-black clothes, as in a funeral procession, a sign of solidarity and an omen of sorts for a game that they hope ends with them burying the Celtics.
 
When Jae Crowder was asked about the Wizards all-black gear, his initial response...“That’s cute!”
 
More than anything, the Wizards (24-20) are putting a significant amount of value into tonight’s game. A victory would extend their home winning streak to 14.

Meanwhile, the Celtics (26-17) come in looking to snap a two-game losing streak.
 
“This is definitely not Game 7 or the playoffs,” said Isaiah Thomas. “But if they want to take it that serious, they can.”
 
The idea to arrive at the Verizon Center donning all-black was hatched by Bradley Beal, who has some contentious moments, to say the least, with the Celtics recently.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens knows all about the funeral talk which to him is just that, talk. He’s more concerned with his team doing what they need to do in order to win.
 
Nothing more.
 
Nothing less.
 
“At the end of the day, good basketball teams are physical,” he said. “There’s a line you don’t want to cross. Ultimately, you have to be appropriately physical at a high level. It’s about playing well, focus on your next task at hand. This is a great opportunity to see where we’re at.”

In the Celtics' 117-108 win over the Wizards on Jan. 11, Beal was whistled for a flagrant-1 foul after getting into it with Marcus Smart.
 
Last season, Beal was on the receiving end of a left forearm to the face from Smart, who was driving to the basket at the time. The blow resulted in a broken nose for Beal in addition to spending time in the league’s concussion protocol program.
 
And then there’s his backcourt mate John Wall.
 
He was fined $15,000 for his role in a postgame incident with Jae Crowder (who was fined $25,000). Crowder pushed Wall’s nose with his finger, which led to Wall retaliating with a slap towards Crowder’s face.
 
And when the two met back on Nov. 9, Wall was hit with a flagrant-2 foul (an automatic ejection) when he threw Smart down hard to floor in the final moments of a Wizards win.
 
The Celtics have a few games that have become more physical than others recently, but there’s something about this Celtics-Wizards matchup that brings out an elevated level of feistiness.
 
“It’s just all talk; that’s all it is,” Thomas said. “I guess they taking it and running with it. I don’t know what it is. I [saw] the funeral and the all-black thing last night and I just laughed about it. We’ll be there tonight for a game, not a funeral.”
 

WATCH: Celtics vs. Wizards

WATCH: Celtics vs. Wizards

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics play the Wizards in Washington. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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