Rajon Rondo gets boost from his brother inside NBA bubble
The Lakers guard and his brother William continue to support each other on and off the court
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – When Rajon Rondo left the floor after the Los Angeles Lakers advanced to the Western Conference finals, he had one goal: check on his brother, William.
“He’s been my rock since I’ve been here,” Rondo told The Undefeated after Saturday night’s game. “A lot of inspiration. A lot of motivation. From the top on down, he’s somebody I look to from the stands and get my calmness from. He will tell me honestly to pick it up or that I’m doing great. He knows the game. I definitely need him in the building with me.”
William Rondo caught the attention of more than just his brother from the stands Saturday night. During the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ 119-96 win over the Houston Rockets, William Rondo had to be escorted out by security. The ejection came after Rockets guard Russell Westbrook took exception to William Rondo calling him “trash” from the Lakers’ family section and waving goodbye.
Westbrook asked Rockets security to remove William Rondo. Shortly after, William Rondo was calmly escorted out of AdventHealth Arena by an NBA security guard.
The NBA has warned family members and other loved ones who are granted access to games in the NBA bubble not to engage in any misconduct, verbal or otherwise, with the players or referees. An NBA source said Saturday night that the league would investigate the situation. Westbrook said after the game, “people at the game, you’re supposed to shut your mouth and watch the game. That’s the rules, especially when you have families and people here.”
Rondo, however, said he believes part of the NBA All-Star’s frustration was struggling with 10 points in an elimination game, and that the quieter environment made his brother easier to hear. Rondo said he is optimistic his brother will not be reprimanded after the NBA does a thorough investigation.
“I would ask the NBA to do their due diligence,” Rondo said. “Talk to the people who were there. The people right beside him. He didn’t cuss. He called him trash from the stands. Obviously, it’s not an arena. You can hear things a lot clearer. If Russ had 30 tonight, I don’t think he wouldn’t say nothing to him and got that upset. But it was an exit game. He didn’t play well. You’re frustrated and you let things like that get to you.”
As of Sunday, William Rondo is expected to miss a couple of games but not be kicked out of the bubble, sources told The Undefeated.
Family members and friends chosen by NBA players in the bubble were first eligible to enter the bubble on Aug. 31 after quarantining for seven days. William Rondo, however, has been in the bubble since the beginning of the NBA restart because the league is using services from his company, Superior Global Travel & Concierge Services.
After its season was suspended due to COVID-19, the NBA resumed play on July 30 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It began with three hotels and 22 teams. On Sunday, there was one hotel and five teams.
The circumstance created an opportunity for William Rondo to bring his concierge services, which also include elite airline and ground transportation, to the bubble. The NBA and National Basketball Players Association hired Global Concierge Services for hair and nail services and even built a temporary glass-enclosed and air-conditioned barbershop in the back of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Through his company, William Rondo has hired six barbers as well as manicurists and hair braiders from all over the country who are used by players, other NBA team and league personnel and media inside the bubble. The players text or call a representative from Global Concierge Services to make appointments. Services are available seven days a week.
“I was able to build a relationship with [NBPA president Michele Roberts],” William Rondo told The Undefeated in August. “She’s an advocate for players’ experiences. Making sure they are taken care of. When I heard there were possible [barber] locations in the bubble, I sent her an email of about 20 things I could do. One thing was grooming, barbers in the bubble. So, when I came up with that idea, I knew that if you look good, you feel good. And if you feel good, you play good.”
The circumstance not only meant a business opportunity for William Rondo, but another chance to support and learn from his brother in the bubble.
“He’s always giving me pointers and insight on things and how to do things better,” William Rondo said in August. “I watch him and how he does things behind the scenes, the restaurants he goes to, the things he enjoys and I kind of copy that … [It has] led me to a lot of resources and special people that I’ve got to meet over the years … tremendous people … from private chefs to event coordinators. So Rajon has definitely been the gateway to my business and purpose.”
Rondo has been using a hair braider in the bubble. His personal barber, Sedric Salinas, was also hired to work in the bubble by William Rondo. Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul gave William Rondo a shoutout on Instagram for the hair and nail services he is providing in the bubble. Several players have also received rave reviews on television and social media for their hair braids.
“Those are essential to playing the way you want to play. Getting your hair cut and to relax getting your feet done. Me personally, I perform better [after]. You feel good, you play good. That is what he provided in the bubble,” Rondo said.
William Rondo began his concierge services company in 2010. It began with him setting up services for his brother when he was playing for the Boston Celtics from 2005 to 2015. William Rondo said his brother would get him “anything he needed as a player” while he was busy concentrating on basketball. Other Celtics players and players throughout the league eventually began asking for William Rondo’s services as well. Boston Magazine once wrote that William Rondo’s job “is essentially to make life easy for pro athletes, celebrities, and other bigwigs across the country.”
Rondo added that what has helped his brother’s success is that he’s a “sponge” in educating himself, very intelligent and a “people person.”
“He is my brother, so I always support him,” Rondo said. “This is a journey he’s been on since I’ve been in the league. It was a business idea of his that he wanted to start a long time ago. When I moved to Boston, he came and lived with me. He understood right away what players needed, especially when they get acclimated to different cities.
“He has been by my side my entire career. He has the experience of knowing what we want on the road and at home when you come to a game. … Success hasn’t come overnight and he is definitely a living testimony of someone continuing to grind. It’s been almost a decade.”
The Lakers will begin the Western Conference finals as early as Wednesday. The opponent will either be the LA Clippers or Denver Nuggets. Rondo hopes to hear his brother’s motivational words from the stands in Game 1.
“He actually gave me a hell of a boost in Game 2 against the Rockets,” Rondo said. “I was tired as hell and I was on [Rockets star] James [Harden] guarding him in the fourth quarter. He was like, ‘Dig deep. Get through it.’ I needed that. I actually told him that he helped me get through the fourth in terms of my fatigue. It wasn’t time for that. I heard him in the crowd and I’m always looking for him at the start of the games.”