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“Hey Ray, why don’t you teach this kid how to shoot?” — when Barack Obama trash-talked Rajon Rondo into becoming a better shooter

Rajon Rondo was “devastated and embarrassed” to be dissed by Barack Obama in front of so many people
United States president Barack Obama, Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo and guard Ray Allen

Barack Obama, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen

There's the Magic Johnson and Larry Bird rivalry, Michael Jordan and the Detroit "Bad Boy" Pistons, LeBron James and the Golden State Warriors, and apparently a Barack Obama versus Rajon Rondo one too.

Obama, who is well-known as a huge basketball fan, has always been an avid follower of the NBA. In fact, No. 44 has developed multiple genuine relationships with James, Kobe Bryant, and several Hall-of-Famers in the NBA. But if there's one player he probably never developed a friendship with, it's Rajon Rondo, who he relentlessly trash-talked against in the past few years.

According to Shaquille O'Neal, who played for the Boston Celtics in the 2010-2011 season, Obama once called out Rondo for being a lousy shooter. O'Neal mentioned that this took place in a fundraising event that notable Celtics players like Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rondo, and Paul Pierce attended.

"Hey Ray, why don't you teach this kid how to shoot?" Obama told Allen right in front of Rondo's face.

Yikes, that's got to hurt for Rondo, who, according to O'Neal, was visibly thrown off by the statement of the 44th President of the United States.

"KG (Kevin Garnett) 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," O'Neal said.

Was Rondo that bad of a shooter?

Yes, Rondo was indeed a horrible shooter during his tenure with the Celtics. In his first eight years with the green and white, the point guard only averaged an abysmal Russell Westbrookesque 25.2% from downtown and would often be left wide open on the perimeter because opponents knew he couldn't score outside the paint to save his life.

The best example of this was in the 2010 NBA Finals when Phil Jackson and the Lakers' game-plan was to leave Rondo open on the perimeter.

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Despite averaging almost a triple-double during his prime years, Rondo's biggest flaw was always his shooting. It was ironic considering that he played the point-guard position but having Allen and Pierce on his side covered up for Rondo's weakness.

So, maybe Obama was just too flabbergasted with the two-time champions' inability to shoot that he couldn't help but tell Allen to tutor the point guard.

The trash-talking didn't stop there

Obama kept the same energy in 2020 when he told Los Angeles Lakers head coach (at that time) Frank Vogel to bench Rondo and stop giving him so much playing time. In one event, Obama approached Vogel and told him straight up that playing Rondo was going to be detrimental for the Lakers in the 2020 playoffs.

"I love what you're doing with the Lakers. Great job but let's talk about that rotation. You need to stop playing Rondo so much and give Alex Caruso more playing time," Obama told Vogel.

Vogel laughed off Obama's suggestion and diplomatically clapped back in the most excellent way possible.

"Yeah, I love Rondo but I'll think about it," Vogel replied.

True to his word, Vogel did think about playing Rondo less as he inserted Caruso in the Lakers lineup during the most crucial moments. After all, Caruso started for the Lakers during their Game 6 championship clincher against the Miami Heat in the 2020 Finals.

But playing Caruso wasn't done to discredit Rondo, who also played a crucial role in the Lakers' championship run.

Rondo averaged 8.9 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.3 rebounds during the NBA Finals. Not only did Rondo outsmart everyone on the court, but he was also surprisingly knocking down his three-balls at an impressive 75% rate when it mattered most. In Game 6 of the 2020 finals, Rondo made three out of four of his three-point attempts that helped seal the championship for the Purple and Gold.

So while Obama was trash-talking Rondo for years, it's safe to say that the two-time champion got the last laugh. 


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