Brian Scalabrine’s Amazing Story About Rajon Rondo’s Insane Basketball IQ

Photo Credit: Jim Davis/Boston Globe

Brian Scalabrine’s Amazing Story About Rajon Rondo’s Insane Basketball IQ


I have a very special appreciation for players like Rajon Rondo. You know, we see players like Stephen Curry make threes from near half court, we see Russell Westbrook flying through the air and murdering the rim, we see Kyrie Irving score points for fun, but we rarely fully appreciate playmakers and floor generals in the NBA. Rondo has bounced around the league since he left Boston, but he will always provide a special kind of value for anyone who is lucky enough to have his services.

I am in no way shape or form saying I don’t enjoy all the rest of the guys that give us highlight after highlight, and their individual greatness is obviously amazing, but there is a very special and exclusive group for players who make others better. It’s not an everyday thing you come across.

If you think about it, individual talent is everywhere. There are thousands of players that can flat out ball, but for me, the players with the unique ability to lift others around them is so rare.

In my opinion, the greatest honor or ability is to make others better within a team sport, where so many pieces have to work cohesively in order to be successful. It’s extraordinary to see a player enabling others to shine and display their full skillset, even when that player may be an inferior talent to them. For me, is it the absolute ultimate in a team environment.

In the documentary about the 2008 Boston Celtics, Rondo’s former teammate Brian Scalabrine recalled an amazing scene that showed Rondo’s insane basketball IQ and intellect. Via Chris Richardson


After retirement, Scalabrine became an assistant for the Warriors. When he returned to TD Garden during a regular-season game, Scalabrine said head coach Mark Jackson shouted a call, “42 cross”, for his team. But it was a bluff. The Warriors didn’t have a “42 cross” in their playbook, and Rondo knew.

Per Scalabrine:

“Rondo looked at Mark, and then he looked in the air and said, ’42 cross, 42 cross,’ and then he looked back at Mark and said, ‘You don’t have a 42 cross.’ I was like, ‘How the hell did he just know that?’ Somehow, some way, he knew that. And they’re not a rival. It wasn’t a playoff series. It was an insignificant game during the middle of the week. He was the smartest player I’ve ever played with, and it’s not even close.”


Rachel Nichols in the meantime, seems to enjoy floor generals like Rondo just as much as I do.


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