No matter what you think of Barack Obama’s political philosophies, he is a powerful man. So powerful, writes Shaquille O’Neal in his new book, that a single Obama diss talked Rajon Rondo off his game last season. (SB Nation)
In early March some of the guys went to the museum of Fine Arts for a fund-raiser and got to hang with President Barack Obama. Everyone was a little bit in awe. The President turns to Ray, points at Rondo, and says, “Hey, Ray, why don’t you teach this kid how to shoot?” Everyone starts laughing.
KG told me he saw the look on Rondo’s face and the kid was devastated, embarrassed. Dissed by the President, even though I’m sure Obama didn’t mean any harm. Rondo smiled and went along with all of it, but KG told me he could see it in his eyes.
The next day Rondo shot the ball horribly. He stopped taking shots after that. He’s so sensitive. I think it was a real jolt to hear the outside perception of a basketball fan who happens to be the President of the United States. It messed with his mind. I’m sure of it.
It should be “a real jolt” for Rondo to hear that people think he has a suspect jumper in the same way it was “a real jolt” for me to hear that Brian Scalabrine has never won the NBA MVP. Obama’s opinion wasn’t exactly shocking.
It’s difficult to believe Rondo, who returned from a Willis McGahee elbow in eight minutes, would allow Obama far enough into his head that he lost confidence in his shooting (assuming, you know, Rondo ever had any confidence in the first place). Rondo hears about his bad shooting every day. Reporters ask him questions about his shooting all the time, I’m sure Doc Rivers mentions it quite often, and I bet Rondo’s teammates give him crap about it too.
Maybe it’s different to hear it from the President. Maybe Shaq’s right. Or maybe Shaq’s stretching the truth in hopes of selling more copies of his new book.