Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo’s fight that possibly started with spit and definitely ended with a Brandon Ingram punch is bringing skeletons out of the closet.
In an interview with ESPN, Rondo called attention to Paul’s character, saying “Everyone wants to believe Chris Paul is a good guy. They don’t know he’s a horrible teammate. They don’t know how he treats people. Look at what he did last year when he was in LA; trying to get to the Clippers’ locker room. They don’t want to believe he’s capable of taunting and igniting an incident.”
In the days since the trio’s multi-game suspensions were announced, former Clippers Glen Davis and Ryan Hollins have echoed Rondo’s sentiments. Davis outright called Paul a bad teammate on Instagram while Hollins said “he has some growing to do.” Hollins then praised Rondo as one of his favorite teammates on Twitter.
Rockets owner Daryl Morey threw the seemingly final blow (for now) with a cryptic pot and kettle tweet, which may have been his way of throwing shade at Rondo for walking out on the Mavericks in the 2015 playoffs.
There’s a longstanding Rondo-Paul rivalry brewing, and it’s been brought to light by saliva and/or uppercuts to the face.
Here’s everything we know about the brawl and the character of those involved.
Rondo still claims he didn’t spit on Paul.
It’s tough to come up with a conclusive finding on Spitgate with the video evidence provided. The reactions make it seem like someone spit in Paul’s face, though some said it could’ve been accidental friendly fire from Carmelo Anthony. Regardless, Rondo is using his mouthpiece as an alibi.
“I had a mouthpiece in my mouth and I [was] exasperated because I was about to tell him to ‘get the [expletive] out of here,’” Rondo told ESPN. “Look at my body language. My hands on my hips. I turn away for a second. Look at Eric (Gordon) and Melo in the video. If they saw me spit, they would have turned their face up or something. They had no reaction.”
Davis and Hollins had bad reviews for Chris Paul as a teammate
Davis and Hollins each played with both men in question, and neither had nice things to say about the now-Rockets point guard.
Davis spent less than two seasons with Paul in Los Angeles, and that was apparently enough. He took to Instagram to flat out say “CP3 is a very bad teammate.” Yikes.
Hollins wasn’t as cut-throat, telling HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy, “He has some growing to do. Everything that glitters ain’t gold.”
Hollins then tweeted in support of Rondo.
Hands down one of my favorite teammates EVER pic.twitter.com/A82CGmKJwc— Ryan Hollins (@TheRyanHollins) October 23, 2018
These are just examples from two outspoken players, and in all likelihood active players are keeping their opinions to themselves.
Kenyon Martin has talked about not trusting Paul
In May, on Colin Cowherd’s show, Martin said:
People think [Paul] is a politician. People don’t trust politicians. He does things within the locker room that some teammates question. Dealing with management and coaches, people deem it as sneaky.
They think he has a hidden agenda that doesn’t include the other 14 guys.
Here’s that video:
This was prior to the Rondo-Paul fight, so Paul’s presence as an unfavorable teammate has been in discussion long before Saturday night’s brawl.
This drama is likely to persist
It’s possible that both Rondo and Paul are bad teammates to some and great ones for others, but we’ll have to wait 15 years for someone’s tell-all book to know for sure.
For now, Rondo and Paul are great at grabbing media attention for their on- and off-court antics, and with both playing for high-profile teams, they’ll surely have a stage to continue this beef. The Lakers and Rockets are scheduled to play twice more, on Dec. 13 and Jan. 19. Mark your calendars.