‘Looking to Destroy Him’: Rajon Rondo Opens About Rivalry With New Lakers Teammate Russell Westbrook

Published 09/29/2021, 9:07 AM EDT
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 13: Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) reacts after hitting a three pointer during the first quarter of the game between the Washington Wizards and the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, March 13, 2021. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Rajon Rondo recently spoke about the rivalry between himself and Russell Westbrook. Rondo joked that the Los Angeles Lakers teammates would look to destroy each other. Rondo is a Lakers veteran while Westbrook is one of Lakers’ new signings and their supposed rivalry kicked off with an altercation between Westbrook and Rondo’s brother during an NBA match.

Teams have returned to their respective training camps in anticipation of the new season, with players also engaging in media day duties.

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Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1), Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3), Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso (4) and Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo (9) celebrate after defeating the Denver Nuggets in game four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rondo and Westbrook’s rivalry

In a tweet posted by Melissa Rohlin, who covers the NBA for ‘Fox Sports’, Rajon Rondo was apparently questioned about the nature of competitiveness between him and Russell Westbrook. In a not-so-friendly way response, he said, “I know he’s looking to destroy me. Likewise, I’m looking to destroy him.”

Rondo and Westbrook have always been fierce rivals, despite playing in different teams. The former was already at the Boston Celtics as a key player when the latter entered the NBA in 2008. Since then, both players have only increased in their player development and are considered two of the best point guards in the league.

There was a suspected rivalry between them that was rumored to have developed because of a controversial incident. The incident involved Westbrook and Rondo’s brother, which resulted in the latter being ejected out of the audience during the second round of NBA playoffs. Rondo’s brother had allegedly heckled Westbrook through the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers game during the 2020 NBA bubble.

Westbrook tried to confront Rondo’s brother, but they stopped the duo from engaging in any physical squabble. Since then, the media has rumored that the two point guards have fallen out with each other.


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Westbrook’s trade to the Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers signed Westbrook during the off-season in an ambitious trade to suit their win now policy. Because of Westbrook’s addition to the roster, many in the media and the Lakers fanbase worried about a potential flare-up of the 2020 incident, causing cracks within the squad.

Apr 28, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) jokes with Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) after their game at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

However, both Rondo and Westbrook have indicated that they have pushed the controversial incident into the background. Both players seem to be committed to the team despite vying for the same position on the basketball court. The duo adds different dimensions to their respective play styles and could push the Lakers to their goals this season.


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Shalom Saldanha

260 articles

Shalom Saldanha is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his journalism degree, he has previously worked as a sports corresspondent for India Shorts/Business Upturn. A Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bucks fan, Shalom primarily got into the sport after discovering that he shared a mutual love for Arsenal with the Greek Freak.