Many thought Rajon Rondo's late-season slump was due in part to the Celtics trading away their starting center, one of Rondo's best friends, Kendrick Perkins.
Shaquille O'Neal has a different take; he blames Barack Obama.
In his upcoming book, Shaq Uncut, written with ESPN's Jackie MacMullan, O'Neal says that a playful insult from President Obama messed with Rondo's head and threw the Celtics point guard off his game for the remainder of the season.
From Shaq Uncut:
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 dont you teach this kid how to shoot? Everyone starts laughing.
KG told me he saw the look on Rondos face and the kid was devastated, embarrassed. Dissed by the President, even though Im sure Obama didnt 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. Hes 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. Im sure of it.
Shaq Uncut is available for pre-order and will debut on November 15.
Watch the highlights of the Boston Celtics 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks, and hear from head coach Brad Stevens and Celtics own Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas.
BOSTON – Wednesday’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks was the fifth time in the last six games that Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley was out because of a right Achilles injury.
Well, it appears the 6-foot-2 guard may miss a few more with this injury.
“I can see him missing a little more time,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said following Wednesday’s loss. “I just think maybe he came back a little bit too early, whatever the case may be.”
Bradley was expected to play against the Knicks, but was a last-minute scratch.
Celtics big man Al Horford said he didn’t find out Bradley was out until the team was on the floor doing pre-game warmups and he didn’t see him.
“He was really sore,” Stevens said of Bradley. “Went through our walk-through and then came on to the court and did some stuff and was more sore today than he has been. I think he did treatment the whole game.”
This latest setback for Bradley is part of a growing narrative that has dogged him throughout his career which has included him missing games to injury in each of his six-plus NBA seasons.
Bradley came into this season once again hoping to be as injury-free as possible, only to see that dream dashed with this right Achilles strain he's suffering with currently.
Still, there’s no downplaying the significance and value the Celtics have in the 26-year-old. This season, he is second on the Celtics in scoring at 17.7 points per game and leads them in rebounds with 6.9 per game with both being career highs. In addition, he averages just under 35 minutes per game which is also tops on the team.
Marcus Smart has been Stevens’ choice to replace Bradley in the starting lineup when Bradley has been unavailable, and that’s not likely to change between now and Saturday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.