Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers got breakfast together Thursday morning at The Paramount in Beacon Hill. Just two professional basketball players with a noted mutual admiration talking shop on an offday for their rival squads.
A couple years back, we probably would have been none the wiser of the confab. But in the age of social media, the pictures popped up on Reddit, then went viral on Twitter. In a week, your grandfather will get wind of the meeting and shake his fist while screaming about how Bill Russell would have never fraternized with a rival player.
But in this modern NBA, friendships abound. What makes the Rondo-Bryant tandem so intriguing is the fact that both players seem to have bonded over being anti-social.
The Rondo-Bryant friendship is well-documented. Back in 2013, after Rondo's season ended due to a torn ACL, Bryant got a good belly laugh when told how some believe Boston might be better off without their prickly point guard.
"You don't want Rondo? Send him my way," Kobe told ESPN Boston. "I love everything about him. Everything. I love his attitude, I love his chippiness, his edge, his intellect, his know-it-allness. All of it. That's what makes championship players.
"What guard have you seen at his size that will get you 18 assists, 17 boards and 20 points all in one game? That's unheard of. I love that kid. I always make a point of talking to him during All-Star [Weekend]. He's one of my favorites."
More recently, Bryant complimented Rondo by saying, "From what I understand he's an a--hole, like me." Rondo responded soon after by noting, "That's a great compliment, coming from Kobe. I feel the same way about him."
And so the man who passes too much and the man who doesn't pass enough got together Thursday morning for some orange juice and toast. Celtics fans immediately suspected Bryant of tampering, while Lakers fans raced to ESPN's trade machine to figure out a way to get the point guard that they often say is totally overrated, but would love to see in purple and gold to help rescue the 2014-15 season.
At least this year's Celtics-Lakers matchup is getting some buzz now. Before Thursday morning, the Boston-LA game was just a gathering of two teams trying to avoid another year in the lottery; a reminder of the rebuilding process that each franchise is navigating with the pressure of a combined 33 title banners staring down at them.
The Celtics are trying to steady themselves after a frustration-filled first month of the season, but their future remains murky, especially with Rondo set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer. The 36-year-old Bryant says he's willing to be patient with Los Angels' rebuilding process, but clearly would prefer to hit an accelerator pedal before his arms go numb from all the shots he's taking.
OK, so maybe he was recruiting Rondo.