As American citizens, it’s quite easy to point fingers at the President of the United States, especially if it’s Barack Obama, however, some sports fans might want to reconsider why we’re blaming the commander and chief, who apparently “destroyed” Rajon Rondo’s shooting ability this past spring.
It’s not totally certain that Obama is the reason for Rondo’s poor shooting statistics with the Boston Celtics in March or April, but it’s quite possible that America’s leader stated something that affected the point guard, right?
Yet, how could one’s words derail an athlete? Seriously, how?
Well, according to multiple reports on Wednesday morning, as well as a portion of Shaquille O’Neal’s memoir with ESPNBoston.com columnist Jackie MacMullan, which is scheduled to debut on November 15, the Big Shamrock regaled the tale of the Green and White’s encounter with President Obama at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts this past March.
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.
So, with this being the case, one might have to wonder, should we indeed blame Obama for Rondo’s shooting woes? Again, how can one person impact a player’s shooting ability? Obama is indeed a true basketball supporter, however, it just seems rather bizarre that we’re all pointing the finger at him.
What it Means: The Celtics needed to draft a “big man.” Shaquille O’Neal retired this past spring and who knows how much gas remains in Jermaine O’Neal‘s tank, but Johnson will help the Green and Whit with his size. Johnson, who is six-feet-ten-inches and 221 pounds will certainly play a factor down low, as well as on defense.
How will Johnson Impact the Celtics: In his final year with Purdue, Johnson averaged 35.4 minutes, 20.5 points and 8.6 rebounds. Johnson improved dramatically from his freshman to senior year, so hopefully that’s a sign for things to come. Also, he won, as well as received numerous awards over his four years with the Boilermakers.
“[He] led Purdue in scoring 20 times, rebounds 24 times, blocks 31 times, steals 10 times and assists once during the season” (according to Purdue Athletics website).
Overall Grade: I’d say he is a sold “B/B+.” The All-American has plenty of room to grow, but expect his game to improve under the guidance of head coach Doc Rivers.
It’s finally set in, but seriously, no Shaquille O’Neal in 2011, are you serious?
That’s right, Shaq’s days are numbered, toast and yes, he won’t be playing for any NBA team the next few years. Instead, he’ll be sitting back, relaxing, possibly pursuing a Masters and maybe, shooting the sequel to Kazaam?
Although, while the NBA will indeed miss O’Neal, fans shouldn’t worry too much because the athletic celebrity will continue to make noise, I promise.
He’s been in movies, mentioned in songs, hosted Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards, as well as been spotted at a variety of Hollywood parties and events.
Remember when he joined the Cleveland Cavaliers and promised to “win a ring for the King” (LeBron James)? Yep, that didn’t happen, luckily.
Shaq’s presence on and off the court is what makes the gentle giant so loveable and enjoyable. Yet, how many athletes or celebrities can be compared to Shaquille O’Neal? Seriously, who are other athletes that can be measured up to Shaq’s status?
Deion Sanders, Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky have all embraced the celebrity life in various ways, but overall, they’re not Shaq.
Shaq is unique and cannot be replicated or cloned. He’s someone very special to the sports world and certainly he’ll be missed.
O’Neal walks away with four NBA championships, three Finals MVP’s, as well as other awards and unfortunately, he didn’t help the Boston Celtics capture Banner 18, but that doesn’t matter because he’ll always be loved.
Remember Game 7 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angles Lakers in 2010? What happened during the final four minutes in regulation?
Well, in case you forgot, the Boston Celtics ran out of gas and allowed the Los Angles Lakers to comeback and win their 16th NBA Championship. Although, on Wednesday, it was as if Boston was reliving the nightmare, but this time, LeBron James wasplaying the role of Kobe Bryant.
The Miami Heat tore apart the aging Celtics in Game 5, as well as punched their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2006 with a convincing 97-87 win. James finished the game with 33 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while his partner in crime, Dwyane Wade added 34 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals.
As for Boston, they watched Ray Allen lead the Celtics with 18 points, while Kevin Garnett added 15 points and collected 11 rebounds. Also, the Celtics received some additional help from their bench during the third and fourth quarter, as Delonte West finished the game with 10 points and Jeff Green added an additional nine points.
Although, while this loss is certainly painful, it’s pretty easy to state, we saw this coming.
Against the New York Knicks in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, the Celtics displayed their age and tired legs, but were able to sneak past a banged up squad that didn’t even have a healthy Amare Stoudemire. Boston got lucky by sweeping the Knickerbockers in four games, but knew that Miami wasn’t going to be an easy foe.
Miami immediately took control in Game 1, which set the tone for the entire series. The Heat ended up winning the first two games, but lost to Boston in Game 3 at the TD Garden. However, they bounced back two days later and then won again.
The Celtics also witnessed their major contributors, such as Rajon Rondo, Shaquille O’Neal, Paul Pierce, Allen and West either sustain injuries or re-aggravate their ailing bones and muscles.
Boston will now head into the off-season with a lot of questions, such as; will Doc Rivers return to the bench next season as the head coach? What should the Celtics do with Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal? What battled tested free agent veterans can the Celtics scoop up? Also, can the “Big-3” win one more championship?
There certainly is a lot that has to happen if Boston wants to return to the NBA Championship, but after losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat, I’d say, it’s time to sit back and reflect on the past season.
Indeed, it was a fun run, but certainly not the finish the Celtics and their fans expected, but hey, this is what makes sports so enjoyable, right?