For quite some time, LeBron James vs. the Boston Celtics was one of the better short-lived rivalries the NBA had provided. Now, James is getting ready to embark on a Lakers season playing alongside Rajon Rondo, and neither can wait to see what they’re capable of together.
Both guys were asked about teaming up and, well, we can’t wait for their buddy cop show launching this fall on Spectrum Sportsnet.
Let’s start with James on Rondo.
““He’s always been one of the most cerebral players, one of the smartest players that I have ever competed against, one of the most competitive guys I’ve ever competed against,” James said. “He knows everything that’s going on on the floor, he knows everything that you’re doing, everything the team is doing, all the strengths and your weaknesses.
“When you see yourself in someone on the opposing side, that’s where you think ‘someday it would be crazy if we ever teamed up and were able to join forces with that type of cerebral mentality,” James continued. “It’s going to be a really cool moment when I step out on the floor with Rondo just knowing the things that he sees and the things that I see, and never having to say anything. There’s not many of us in this league that can actually think and prepare with our minds before we even step on the floor and play the game like the two of us.”
That’s some effusive praise. Let’s see if Rondo raises the bar.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to play with a guy that’s on that level,” Rondo said. “That understands how to break the game down mentally and physically in a quick second. LeBron is one of the greatest players that we’ve ever seen in this game today, and being on the floor with him is going to make everyone else’s job a lot easier, and that’s what I’m here to do as well.”
Okay so LeBron is better at compliments, it turns out.
It makes sense that both James and Rondo would hold each other in such high regard, though, especially regarding the mental aspects of the game. Having met with such high stakes and so often in the playoffs, an amount of respect was always going to be born. You don’t face off against each other as often as they have without understanding what one’s counterpart brings to the table.
Had both guys been in their prime, the Lakers would be very well set up not only for playoff situations, but for this next season. Instead, both James and Rondo will be leaning on unproven, younger talent to lift them to a situation where their prior experience can benefit everyone around them. That dynamic will be one of the absolutely most fascinating to watch across this Lakers roster, but it seems at the very least the two are already forging a deep connection with each other, one that could pay dividends for the Lakers this season.