In case you missed it, enigmatic Celtics guard and franchise player of Boston’s basketball future Rajon Rondo made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live recently, participating in a Skype scavenger hunt against New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler. For the challenge, Chandler and Rondo, who were both live on the show from their respective homes via Skype, were asked to retrieve a random series of objects for Kimmel, and therefore us, his audience, as well. He asked the hoops stars for three things: 1.) whatever they last read, 2.) the object their teammates would most make fun of them for having, and 3.) something that most resembles a wig. (See video below.)
As someone who is not only a big fan of Rondo’s play on the court, but also enjoys his seemingly impenatrable demeanor off the court, watching this clip was like finally being granted a decent set of tea leaves for solving the mystery that is the enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in an enigma that is the persona of Rajon Rondo.
(It also immediately had me wondering: why would Rondo want/agree to do this?)
(Then I was distracted by the fact that both Chandler and Rondo were wearing Nike t-shirts. And uncomfirmed anti-corporate conspiracy theories began bubbling in my mind. Or maybe it wasn’t manipulated-through-money product placement, but just a coincidence. At any rate, after Kimmel’s question about recent reads, I stopped noticing the matching Nikes.)
For a wig-like object, Rondo found a shower cap. Which is sort of interesting, but not really. Nor was his supposedly embarrasing object: a red phone. (Chandler out-interesting-ed him with a small, possibly steel statue of a flying pig.) But reading materials are inherently intriguing. It took Rondo about as long as he takes to grab a rebound and complete a coast-to-coast fastbreak layup to grab his reading choice: the book The Other Wes Moore, by none other than Wes Moore.
Which begs the questions: Who is Wes Moore? Who is the other Wes Moore? Why is one of them writing about the other? And what, if anything, does this choice of read have to say about Rajon Rondo?
“Two kids with the same name, living in the same city,” Wes Moore’s website explains about the book. “One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison for felony murder. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.”
“Wes wondered how two young men from the same city, who were around the same age, and even shared a name, could arrive at two completely different destinies,” Moore’s author site continues. “The juxtaposition between their lives, and the questions it raised about accountability, chance, fate and family, had a profound impact on Wes … He visited the other Wes in prison over a dozen times, spoke with his family and friends, and discovered startling parallels between their lives: both had difficult childhoods, they were both fatherless, were having trouble in the classroom; they’d hung out on similar corners with similar crews, and had run into trouble with the police. Yet at each stage of their lives, at similar moments of decision, they would head down different paths towards astonishingly divergent destinies. Wes realized in their two stories was a much larger tale about the consequences of personal responsibility and the imperativeness of education and community for a generation of boys searching for their way.”
The book promises insightful socio-economic commentary, especially regarding the corresponding roads to, or roadblocks from success (however we choose to define that complex term). But as a possible portal into the persona of Rondo, a book dealing with the oftentimes fragile facets of identity seems a very poetic choice of read indeed.
Or maybe one that is too calculated for a player also know to be a geometry wiz.