My least favorite player on the Celtics is Rajon Rondo. Next in line on this list is Shaquille O'Neill.
Shaq has been injured most of the season. He played last night in the Celtics victory against the Miami Heat. He looked like a man who is well acquainted with the buffet table. When he went to the foul line and missed both shots he looked like a man who had been yanked from the stands and told to try and shoot. Shaq gets paid a hefty sum. I believe that while he was injured he should have stayed in shape and could easily have practiced his foul shooting during this period.
Rando is another case. He is a very talented player and can sometimes win games because of his own prowess. Yet he often makes plays that suggest that either he is bored, stupid, or is using his head to explore his small intestines. During the last month of the season he played so poorly that the Celtics lost their home court advantage in the playoffs to their current opponent, the Heat.
Last night Rondo was not playing well and turning the ball over like a player not dedicated enough to winning. Then something happened. He became tangled up with an opponent and came down awkwardly on his arm. Replays made viewers wince as it appeared as if his forearm was twisted and about to break like a wishbone.
Rondo was helped off the court and it did not seem likely that he would return. But he did, and played essentially with one arm for the remainder of the game. And he played brilliantly.
So, how does that happen. A talented player plays like a fool while he is healthy, but then when hurt focuses and plays exceptionally.
There is no mystery to this although at first glance it seems odd. We all go through the same thing. Back when I played tennis competitively, I can recall winning two tournament matches when I had been losing and then suffered an injury. Forced to do everything right to compensate for when I could not chase down a ball, I made more shots than I otherwise would have.
This applies to our lives outside of sport as well. When healthy we take our health for granted and do not take advantage of the capabilities that we have. When injured we can become acutely aware of the value of our health and focus more intently on enjoying the time that we have.