New footage reveals the spitting truth
BACK and to the right?
An initial theory Rajon Rondo may have been spared by a second spitter appears to have been disproved by new footage which shows saliva flying from his mouth in the direction of Chris Paul.
The league ruled today on what's become the NBA's version of the famous Seinfeld encounter between Kramer, Newman and Keith Hernandez, handing Rondo a three-game suspension, Lakers teammate Brandon Ingram four games and Paul two games.
Rondo had strenuously denied spitting at and on Paul, which the Rockets point guard alleged began the punch-filled fireworks in LeBron James' home debut at Staples Centre on Saturday night.
Social media sleuths initially pointed to Paul's teammate Carmelo Anthony as the culprit after he was pictured licking his lips immediately after Paul reacted.
Yet, a new angle appeared to show Rondo was responsible for one magic luggie.
New footage, that ESPN reported was sent to the league office as it determined discipline from the brawl, appeared to conclusively show saliva coming out of Rondo's mouth. Paul flinched and put his hand to his face, before shoving Rondo's face, to which Rondo replied with a punch.
Rondo, according to ESPN, attempted to convince the NBA the saliva-sharing was accidental. Part of his defence reportedly included the fact he had a mouthguard in, which gave him less control of his spit.
"That's unacceptable," Carmelo Anthony, who was a near bystander during the altercation, told reporters.
"You don't do that to nobody - in sports, on the street. That's blatant disrespect. You don't do that. That's unacceptable. … You don't even see that in the streets, man. I don't know what else to say about that."
The sad thing is we may never know the real truth.
HISTORY THAT LED TO EXPLOSION
The Rondo-Paul feud goes as far back as the 2008 Olympics, when Paul, Jason Kidd and Deron Williams were the point guards chosen to lead the "Redeem Team," and Rondo was left off the roster.
That snubbing may have stuck with Rondo, who then played with Team USA in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, only to leave the team after a DNP when it became clear he was not going to get a slot.
Then, in a 2009 on-court skirmish that broke out after a game between Paul's Hornets and Rondo's Celtics, the Boston point guard tried to emphasize what he had, and what Paul lacked.
"I've got a ring, and you're never gonna win one," Rondo told Paul, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, then of Yahoo.
The two tried to fight repeatedly that November night, with Paul having to be held back from the Celtics locker room, where he wanted to confront Rondo.
"Lot of history between them," a source told ESPN.
- with New York Post