This is arguably the boldest claim I have ever made but hear me out. The Bulls are on their way to upsetting the #1 seeded Celtics so a little bit of poetic license would be much appreciated. So how can one possibly make a claim that a professional basketball player can be compared to the founder of Western philosophy? Let’s just look at the facts.
No one is doubting the intelligence of the great Socrates. The teacher of Plato and Aristotle, Socrates has one of the most impressive “coaching trees” in ancient philosophy. Aristotle would later go on to tutor Alexander the Great (just connecting the dots here folks). Some of the greatest philosophical advances can be directly connected back to the teachings of Socrates. Just ask any law student who experiences the Socratic method daily. So how does this compare to a 31-year-old point guard who was recently labeled “past his prime?” In his prime Rondo was playing among three for sure Hall of Famers in Garnett, Pierce, and Allen. Those three along with Doc Rivers constantly stated that Rondo led the team by far in Basketball and Actual IQ. High praise from some of the all-time greats. Fast forward to the current series Rondo has found fun in absolutely tormenting his former Celtic team. How? Well, Rondo was a player under Brad Stephens for about a year and a half and still has the playbook memorized. In game two Rondo had 5 steals and 9 deflections. Socrates once said “I think, therefore I run” and Rondo is mentally running circles around a much more talented Celtics squad.
Socrates was a well-known leader in his “prime.” He was constantly challenging his pupils to better themselves and reach their full potential. His method of teaching was unconventional as he invoked his students to learn for themselves and from their own mistakes. Fast forward to the modern NBA, Rondo is the current leader of a team filled with young potential. He has been an avid viewer of D-league film sessions in order to better his young “pupils.” When some of the veteran players called out the young talent Rondo sided with the youngsters as he has seen what they bring to the table. This was not the popular move but if you look at the progression of guys like Paul Zipser and Bobby Portis, it is clear that Rondo’s leadership is a key component to their overall growth.
The teachings of Socrates were not well received by the general public. So much so that it eventually led to his execution. Society was not ready for a population of radical thinkers questioning the norms of society and the higher-ups took action. The higher-ups have evolved into what we now call “haters.” Rondo has been constantly labeled as a locker-room cancer but no one has actually explained why. Of all the teams that have exiled Rondo, none have said a bad thing about him after he was gone. He is a proponent of vocal and radical opinions and with the egos of the NBA this can definitely cause friction. If George Karl and Rick Carlisle can still have respect for Rondo can he honestly be all that bad? Even when Rondo was benched mid-season he hardly complained and accepted his new role.
The comparisons can go on and on but one thing is for certain. One can only hope Rondo does not meet a similar end to his ancient counterpart Socrates. Regular checks for hemlock in Rondo’s water bottle should occur from now until the end of this magical playoff run.