Dating back to his dance with Kirk Hinrich in the 2009 NBA playoffs, Rajon Rondo has never been shy about letting his emotions show on the NBA floor.
He’s received two suspensions within the last year– the first, a two-game suspension for throwing the ball at a ref’s chest and the other, a one-game ban for chest bumping an official in the postseason.
Rondo’s had his tussles on the court, whether it be throwing Hinrich into the scorer’s table, going toe-to-toe with Dwyane Wade or shoving Kobe Bryant.
But he’s never really stepped over the unspoken line from on-court ferocity into off-court melee.
He did on Wednesday though, when what initially started out as Rondo pushing Brooklyn Nets big man Kris Humphries quickly turned into Rondo and Humphries in the first row, while Kevin Garnett and Gerald Wallace traded shoves and the rest of the starting units spilled into the stands.
It was a scary scene for a moment, as fans and players alike attempted to collect themselves. Rondo would exit after his jersey was ripped off, while Humphries, who later tweeted scratch marks up and down his arms, and Wallace were tossed out as well.
I’m as old-school as anyone and personally, loved Rondo standing up for his teammate, who had just been smacked in the face moments after the same culprit swatted his shot away.
But Rondo taking a fight into the stands is simply unacceptable.
He didn’t anticipate Humphries reacting the way he did, according to the Boston Herald.
I thought the play on Kevin was a malicious play. I got hurt last year on a similar play like that, a guy getting me when I was defenseless on the way down. I pushed (Humprhies) and after that it was a pushing war.
He has a hot head, and admittedly, let’s it get to him sometimes.
This game is a contact sport. It’s an emotional game. I play over the edge every night. I take a lot from a lot of guys, but I’m not going to let that take away from my game. I didn’t do anything dirty. I know this is a new day and era – a different style from back in the day. We have different rules.”
But there comes a point when action must be taken by the league regardless of whether the situation itself calls for it or not.
The action of Rondo and Humphries shoving each other isn’t even fine worthy. But if a shoving match can turn into the “Malice in the Palace,” anything is possible in the TD Garden, or really in any arena in the NBA.
Rondo will take his suspension and return to the floor as if nothing happened. And the NBA will continue doing what’s right– protecting the fans.
For more NBA news, follow Raj on Twitter: @RajPrashad