Glenn "Doc" Rivers Danny Ainge Brad Stevens Rajon Rondo Kevin Garnett Paul Pierce
For weeks prior to the eventual departure of Rivers from Boston, debate and discussion swirled about regarding his reasons for wanting to leave the franchise, the historic Boston franchise, for which he had worked to bring the much coveted and much awaited seventeenth NBA championship banner. Many suggested that he did not want to coach a team with Rajon Rondo as the leader of the team. It had long been whispered that the Celtics’ brass was not interested in attempting another championship run with the aging Paul Pierce at a price tag of $15 million a year. He would probably be released. And, Kevin Garnett, as rumor has suggested, was not interested in playing in Boston if Pierce was going to be traded, released or waived. Rivers tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade Ainge to hold the team – as constructed – together for at least one more season (and as much of his remaining contracted three years of service as possible). Ainge balked. Doc left Boston for Chris Paul, the ideal NBA point, and the Los Angeles Clippers. The underlying motivation on the part of Rivers for departing: he did not want to spend a great deal of what remains of his coaching career coaching the difficult, arrogant, attitudinal Rajon Rondo.
For his part, Rondo has acknowledged that he is “hard” to coach, seemingly. He states,
It’s not that I’m hard to coach; it’s just that I may challenge what you say. I know the game myself. I’m out there playing, so I may have seen something different versus what you saw from the sidelines. I’m going to be respectable. I’m going to let the coach talk. (thehoopsdoctors.com)
Black bodies, especially older black male bodies, are more easily controlled by older black male bodies.
After the Celtics announced that Stevens would be their new head coach – he signed a six year contract – it seemed as though all of the ESPN NBA basketball geniuses began to expound on how the trades of Garnett and Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets now all of a sudden began to make sense. “Sure, they had to get rid of veterans like Garnett and Pierce,” one would say. “There is no way Stevens could control a locker room with such veterans,” another would add. People like ESPN’s Jon Barry and Jay Bilas would add statements like: “…and they can’t sign free agents like Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis or Delonte West going forward”; “Stevens is used to dealing with…let’s just say that Steves isn’t used to dealing with players that might be a little rough around the edges.” I mean, if Doc’s not going to be in Boston to control the labor of Pierce and Garnett, then it only makes sense to get rid of Pierce and Garnett. And, going forward, if a coach, like Stevens, is not accustomed to controlling the labor of men like Pierce and Garnett, then the Celtics should no longer seek to capture, draft, the labor of men like Pierce and Garnett. Boston should seek labor that is more easily controlled. The costs of production associated with the NBA product require such an outlook.
Communication between young, white male bodies and black male bodies is challenging.
This premise has been established by the sportsnews media before Rondo and Stevens have even had an opportunity to meet, let alone experience a practice session together. It is simply assumed that the young white coach from Indiana will have a difficult time controlling and coaching the tough, difficult, challenging NBA championship caliber point guard that is Rondo.
Communication between young, white male bodies and other young, white male bodies is less challenging than with black male bodies.
It seems that the selections of the Boston Celtics in this year’s NBA draft reflect the concerns and efforts regarding filling out the player roster with the right kind of players. The selections of Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson, described as the kind of players Stevens might have chosen for his teams at Butler University, represent the ideal college players: pliant to coaching and uneasy with challenging anyone designated as an authority figure. It seems that Ainge and the brain-trust of the Boston Celtics want to provide Stevens with players with which he is accustomed at a place like Butler University and players which may most facilitate his new role as head coach and authoritarian of the Boston Celtics basketball player roster. The pundits have suggested that Olynyk and Iverson are the right kind of players for the new coach as he gets his feet wet and the Celtics experience their rebuilding process.
In the furtherance of facilitating and ensuring the entrance of Brad Stevens into the profession of head coach in the National Basketball Association, the Boston Celtics “lightened” their player roster.
When a corporate entity decides to employ someone for a position of management, it would make sense that the corporate entity would want to ensure that the person chosen for the management position would succeed. If, in order to facilitate management’s success, the corporate entity wishes to capture a labor force that would be pliant to management’s management style, then that is the prerogative of the corporate entity. In the case of the Boston Celtics, it seems as though in order to facilitate the success of Brad Stevens as an NBA head coach it is necessary to capture a labor force that is receptive and pliant to the management style of Stevens. Pierce, Garnet, and players like Davis, West and, even the NBA champion point guard Rajon Rondo, just may not reflect the type of players whose labor can be controlled in the fashion most conducive to the success of Stevens. And so, Ainge selected players like Olynyk and Iverson. The departure of Doc Rivers had a domino effect on the Boston Celtics: it signaled the “falling off,” if you will, of the black dominoes and their replacement by whiter, more pliant, more controllable dominoes.
The next time you or someone you know is motivated to write or lament about why there are not more black bodies in corporate America or in management positions in America, consider the motivations and rationale of the hiring entities. Sometimes, a great number of times, it is not about whether a person is talented enough to merit a position. Rajon Rondo has great talents, evidenced by his recognition as an NBA championship quality point guard. Yet, his tenure with the Boston Celtics may very well come to an end because it is perceived that his attitude may be a future impediment to the coaching success of Brad Stevens, an NBA head coach with no NBA head coaching experience. With no evidence of tension in a relationship yet to be formed, Rondo suffers from being overdetermined as the type of black body with which Stevens may not be able to communicate, coach and control. This represents the lives we lead.