Rajon Rondo has a really intricate pregame routine, Jason Terry reveals
It is fairly well established that Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo is a peculiar guy. In addition to his unique style of play on the court — sometimes seeming to avoid shooting even when it's a fairly obvious choice to everyone else, inverting the court, etc. — he also enjoys rollerskating immensely and turns most every tipoff into a personal trick display.
Not surprisingly, we don't see all of Rondo's eccentricities in action. In fact, according to new teammate Jason Terry, Rondo begins every game with an intricate routine. He explained it to Jared Zwerling of ESPN.com (via EOB):
"Rajon Rondo, for sure. His routine is long-winded and it lasts all the way through tip-off. It starts in the back hallway. He runs down a corridor and he throws the ball to our team chaplain, who throws it back. Then [Rondo] runs out into a circle, high-fives the whole team and then he does the layup lines for five minutes.
"Then he will stand under the goal and Paul Pierce will shoot every ball on the rack from half court. Rondo will catch four balls at one time and then after that, it's just amazing -- one pass off the backboard to KG, one bounce pass to Paul Pierce and then he throws it all the way up to the scoreboard and Jeff Green finishes with an alley-oop.
"It's every game, even road games. I have no idea how he started it; I'm new to the team. I was still going through layup lines and I almost got hit with one of those balls in the head. I wasn't aware that's what they were doing. It threw me off.
Terry raises an interesting point: a new teammate needs to adjust on the fly to make sure he doesn't get in the way of anyone's superstitions. If anyone can appreciate that, it's Terry, who's famous for wearing very specific socks and even got a tattoo of the Larry O'Brien Trophy to inspire himself and his Dallas Mavericks teammates before their 2011 title run.
On the other hand, as Seth Rosenthal notes at SB Nation, we could have expected much weirder from Rondo. At various points in his career, we've identified him as some kind of interstellar creature whose approach to basketball defies many things we think we know about how the game is played. Isn't it a little too normal that he's just throwing passes and high-fiving people? That's not even too different from what NBA players during real games.
So maybe Rondo's routine is actually the most normal of his basketball activities. Any kind of reproduced activity eventually becomes familiar. It'd only be weird if Rondo prepared for every game by doing something no one had ever seen before.