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Rajon Rondo wants you to pay attention to LeBron James, not the needless distraction he created

Jack Baer
·Writer
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It appears that Rajon Rondo has one major regret about his decision to sit far, far away from his Los Angeles Lakers teammates as the seconds ticked away on yet another loss Wednesday. Apparently, he’s sorry his seat choice took away from LeBron James passing Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list.

Rondo didn’t second-guess his decision, though. Instead, he’s more annoyed at the people who criticized him rather than praising James.

Rajon Rondo: Criticizing me disrespects LeBron James

Rondo posted an extended criticism of the coverage the Lakers’ loss received on Instagram, saying that focusing on his late-game location wasted an opportunity to take in James’ greatness:

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Rondo’s lengthy caption:

Let me help y’all out. Since everyone wants to over analyze, gaslight, and over interpret situations, let me help y’all with your due diligence. The real story that everyone should be talking about right now is how my teammate, Lebron James, accomplished a huge milestone in last night’s game. What he has accomplished in this game shows where hard work, dedication, and perseverance can take you. It shows little kids that don’t come from privilege that success is attainable. It shows that no one can tell you how great you can be. Y’all are so busy analyzing what happened in the last 48 seconds of the game that y’all missed the opportunity to highlight, congratulate, and praise Lebron wholeheartedly on his accomplishment. Most of y’all have made a career out of discussing Lebron James, and y’all can’t pay the man some respect. Since y’all missed it, let me do it publicly. Congratulations Lebron on EVERYTHING. You deserve all the success and happiness that God and the Universe has to offer. Congratulations My Brother. Keep being great! 👊🏾👊🏾

It’s worth pointing out that sitting in the fans’ courtside seats is apparently something Rondo likes to do at the end of games, according to his postgame comments.

“I’ve done that maybe 8-10 times this year,” Rondo said. “I don’t know why it’s a big deal now.”

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, is congratulated by guard Rajon Rondo during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Los Angeles. With the basket, James moved past Michael Jordan for fourth place on the NBA career scoring list. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, is congratulated by guard Rajon Rondo during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Los Angeles. With the basket, James moved past Michael Jordan for fourth place on the NBA career scoring list. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Of course, what might have once been a silly quirk takes on a more negative quality when a team is flailing like the Lakers. Rondo has been in the league for nine years. The coverage he received shouldn’t have been a surprise.

Rondo not expected to be fined

Fortunately for Rondo, he’s not likely to see many tangible consequences for his seat choice beyond the criticism he’s now complaining about.

Per ESPN, Rondo is not expected to be fined or disciplined. He reportedly met with Lakers president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka on Thursday to discuss the situation:

"They notified me that it was a league rule that you can't sit there," Rondo told ESPN after the meeting on Thursday. "I wasn't aware of it. But now I know going forward where I need to be."

So that probably won’t be a concern going forward for the Lakers. Unfortunately ...

Rondo’s seat choice just one part of James’ awkward milestone

Somehow, a player who is ostensibly supposed to be one of the Lakers’ veteran leaders sitting 10 chairs away from his nearest teammate wasn’t the only thing that took away from James’ milestone on Wednesday. Looming even larger was the massive hole the Lakers now find themselves even with James.

James’ historical profile rose again Wednesday with his passing of Michael Jordan, but his Lakers also continued to fall in the same game. This time, it was losing to the Denver Nuggets by a lopsided score of 115-99. The loss put another nail in the coffin of the Lakers’ playoff hopes, which were already pretty dead.

The narratives of James’ greatness and the Lakers’ futility have been at odds for months, and the dueling stories of his milestone and the Lakers loss summed up the conflict like never before. Fans of James extolled James’ sustained greatness, and his critics questioned how great he could really be when his team is now 30-35 and 6.5 games out of a playoff spot.

The perceived dysfunction of Rondo’s seat choice was only a part of that dynamic.

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