Exactly, what motivates a player from the Association, to leave everything out on the floor for at least 82 games in the regular season and far more if their team advances deep into the Post Season? If you posed that question to ten different NBA players, most likely you would receive ten different responses in return. Some of those players, may not have given you their real answer; ashamed to admit it is fame and fortune that is their driving force. There are others who have such a love for the game; they don’t fully feel alive unless they are on the hardwood.
Over the years, we have witnessed men who have dedicated their career to someone special that they had lost; sometimes family or a very close friend. While some pushed by the desire to show his parents; that the faith they placed in him paid off. Some enter the Association, vowing to themselves that they will not be satisfied until they win an NBA Finals series. Still others get a buzz from winning, that they can not replicate in any other way.
Then there are players whose motivation for winning is that losing is simply unacceptable. The final outcome on the scoreboard at the end of 48 minutes of action, will determine whether they are in good spirits, or a foul mood until they play their next game. There has been some debate over the past few years; on whether a player should take losing graciously. The old bromide “A Good Loser, Is Still A Loser” rings true in the hearts and heads of many players in the Association.
The “Boston Globe” Thursday, reported that Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, revealed what was perhaps the worst kept secret in the NBA; that he doesn’t tolerate losing all that well. Rondo’s temper has landed the talented Celtics player in hot water many times during his career. Now in the midst of his seventh campaign; the point guard is averaging a double-double for the season as of Thursday night, scoring 13 points per contest, while dishing off 11.6 assists this season.
The Celtics however, have not played well as a unit so far in the current campaign; they will host the Indiana Pacers Friday night at the “New Garden” with a record of 14-17. Boston has dropped their last four straight contests, have gone 2-8 in their last 10 games and if the regular season ended today, they would not be in the Eastern Conference Playoff mix.
Rondo talked with reporters Thursday at team’s practice session, about what he believes is the cause behind Boston not playing up to the expectations that longtime observers had predicted before the start of the campaign. The point guard, inferred that some of the members of the roster were far more tolerant of losing than he is.
The point guard said “The frustrating part is just losing. I’m a sore loser. It’s tough to lose. Everybody isn’t. You’ll learn that everybody isn’t a sore loser. Some teams are OK with losing. Some guys are OK with just getting a check. But everything I do, I compete. So, this four-game losing streak is frustrating.”
When he was asked if he directed his comments at anybody in particular on the club, he replied “I can only judge myself. That’s my New Year’s resolution. I don’t want to judge anybody this year. You go through adversity every season. It’s nothing to get too down about. It’s a long season. I’m staying positive. I haven’t lost faith or hope in this team. I still have high expectations. I know we will turn it around.”
Celtics bench boss Doc Rivers; who was always one of the most competitive players on the floor, during his days as a point guard in the NBA, told reporters that being less demonstrative does not mean a player is any less bitter about a loss. Rivers told reporters “You’ve still got to learn from losing and learn from winning at the same time. Clearly there are guys that are more emotional than others. That doesn’t mean the other guys don’t take it just as poorly.”
There will be many in the media that rip Rondo for his statements; however I am not a member of that camp. He refused calling out any of his teammates publicly; while airing his disdain on what he perceives the team’s mind-set is so far this year. He refused to get caught up in emotions, as he has throughout his time in the NBA, so that this time he did cause any dissent in the clubhouse.