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Rajon Rondo doesn't have time for friends ... unless you're his teammate.Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo appeared on WEEI's "Mut and Merloni" midday program on Thursday (click HERE to listen) and spent much of the interview discussing the competitive nature that he and Kevin Garnett share.
Asked if he hates rivals like the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, Rondo admitted he's not in this business to make friends.
"Hate’s a strong word, but I agree with my teammate," Rondo said when asked about Jason Terry's comments about disliking rivals. "We don’t like anyone. It’s our job to go out there and win. We’re not trying to be friends with anybody, I think KG shows it best. He plays with a lot of intensity. He has no friends out there on the court, and that’s our mentality.
"That should be everyone’s mentality. We are competing -- there’s no friends on the court. Even if you were playing against a family member like your mother, you still go out there and try to beat her. It’s just a matter of competing. We love to win, I’m very competitive. Anything I do, I want to win. I don’t have time for friends. I don't talk to a lot of these guys in the offseason, so why I should talk to them on the court and try to be their friend?
"I’m playing for my teammates. I know I’m a great teammate -- if you’re not my teammate, I could care less about them."
Rondo was asked if that's a trickle-down instinct from playing alongside the ultra-competitive Garnett.
"That’s been with me since Day 1. KG, obviously, you see it everyday with him," said Rondo. "A guy like that, a future Hall of Famer, guy that’s won every award in this game, goes out and competes the way he does, it’s just contagious. I think it’s good for our young guys, and some of the old. It’s funny, a lot of guys say they don’t like KG until they get on his team. It’s probably a true statement. He’s so competitive, he has no friends out there on court if you’re the opposite team. But when you’re his teammate, he’s the best teammate in the world."
A couple other highlights from the call:
* LET'S RACE: The conversation ended with a light-hearted back-and-forth on Rondo's speed. Asked if he could challenge Olympic champion Usain Bolt in a race, Rondo noted, "I wouldn’t back down, it just depends on the distance. He might get me in the 100, I might get him in the 40."
Informed that Celtics coach Doc Rivers had earlier questioned whether he could beat LeBron James in a no-dribble sprint, Rondo was asked who he thought might win a footrace. "Me," he declared. Rondo did the same when asked about Dwyane Wade. When the hosts asked about Ray Allen, Rondo quipped, "Oh, backwards -- I’d beat him [running] backwards. No, I’m just kidding."
Rondo did save high praise for the speed of new teammate Leandro Barbosa.
"He’s fast, he’s a great addition for us," said Rondo. "I think Barbosa challenges me the best in practice every day as far as his quickness. It’s not as easy to go around Barbosa. I never played with him before, you always go against him, but he’s pretty fast."
* NOT AVAILABLE FOR TUTORING: Earlier this week, Rondo dropped in unannounced at Burke High School in Dorchester and Tweeted how he taught freshman algebra with Ms. Oshodi's class. Asked if he's offering after-school tutoring, Rondo declined by noting, "No, I’m not available at the moment," and said he didn't publicize his visit in hopes of surprising the students.
Check out the audio for more on Rondo as a leader, the team's slow start, and increasing his jump shot output.