But when Rondo did it again Wednesday night before the end of a 115-99 loss to the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center, it created a stir. A photo of the Lakers’ point guard seated four seats over from the Lakers’ coaching staff and head athletic trainer went viral, and some on social media speculated about why he wasn’t sitting with his team.
Rondo, who has been a positive mentor to the younger Lakers players and has been like an assistant coach at times to Luke Walton this season, said he did not see what all the fuss was about.
“I’ve done it like maybe eight, 10 times this year,” Rondo said. “I don’t know why it’s a big deal now.”
Rondo did the same thing earlier this season toward the end of the Lakers’ 136-94 loss at Indiana on Feb. 5. Rondo sat in a courtside seat next to head athletic trainer Marco Nunez, who typically sits on the other side of the Lakers’ coaching staff. The internet buzz after that game was about LeBron James sitting at the end of the Lakers’ bench with three empty seats between himself and the nearest Lakers teammate during an embarrassing blowout loss.
Rondo told the Los Angeles Times after that game that he likes sitting in courtside seats during games but that they’re just typically full at Staples Center.
After Wednesday night’s loss to Denver, in which fans started leaving with a few minutes left, Rondo and James walked onto the floor to slap hands with their teammates who were on the floor at the end, before the team walked off into the locker room together.