BOSTON (CBS) — Rajon Rondo really doesn’t like Isaiah Thomas, and he really doesn’t think IT deserves a video tribute from the Boston Celtics.
It was less than a month ago that Rondo spoke out about a potential Thomas tribute on the day the Celtics were also retiring Paul Pierce’s jersey, and on Wednesday night, he let IT know his feelings when the two shared the floor in New Orleans. In addition to playing some pretty aggressive defense on Thomas, Rondo also spewed plenty of trash talk, some of which centered around the tribute video.
Things got so heated between the two former Celtics that they had to be separated late in the first quarter, and both were ejected from the game before the frame ended (watch in the video above).
“Whatever reason, he’s an upset guy about me,” Thomas said after Wednesday’s game, a 139-117 Lakers loss. “I don’t know what it is, but it’s fine. He kept bringing the tribute up, when I was the one that shut the tribute down. I’m far past that.”
Thomas said he didn’t think there was any bad blood lingering between the two entering Wednesday night’s tilt, but Rondo’s anger likely stems from Boston’s 4-2 first-round win over the Bulls last postseason.
“I mean, my team beat his team in the playoffs last year,” said Thomas. “Maybe that is what’s wrong. I don’t know. There’s nothing. Nothing should’ve made that escalate like it did. He already had his agenda written down right when I checked into the game. It was obvious. He picked me up full court, trying to be physical.
“I don’t know what was going on with him. I don’t know why I got thrown out. I don’t want to comment too much on it,” continued Thomas. “It was obvious what was going on. He was being too aggressive for whatever reason, and he also hit me in the face three times. At some point, as a human, if no one is going to protect me, I got to protect myself, and that is when I spoke up and got upset. I hope the NBA figures something out with that, because it was wrong for me to be ejected.”
Rondo did not talk to reporters after the game, but back on January 16 when he was in Boston with the Pelicans, he was extremely dismissive of Thomas’ brief career with the Celtics.
“What has he done?” Rondo asked reporters when Thomas’ video tribute was brought up.
When a reporter told Rondo that Thomas helped lead the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, he was not convinced.
“Oh, that’s what we celebrate around here?” he replied. “This is the Boston Celtics. This isn’t the Phoenix Suns. No disrespect to any other organization but [the Celtics] don’t hang conference titles.”
The Celtics were going to play a tribute video for Thomas back on January 3, his first game back in Boston following the C’s blockbuster trade with the Cavaliers over the summer, but Thomas did not play in that game and wanted his family to be on hand for the special occasion. Cleveland’s only other regular season visit to Boston was last Sunday, which was also the day the Celtics retired Paul Pierce’s No. 34. It caused quite the ballyhoo, with Pierce saying he didn’t want Thomas to steal any of the spotlight on his day. Eventually, Thomas said he didn’t want the video played that day.
Things kind of worked out anyways, as the Cavaliers traded Thomas to the Lakers last Thursday.
The Lakers and Pelicans will square off again on March 22, so we’ll get another chance to see if Rondo is still bitter over a video tribute that was never even played.