As Allen tells it, there were early signs that he and Garnett, who were both intense players and intense personalities, would eventually clash. Allen recalled dribbling in front of his locker during the Celtics’ preseason trip to Rome in 2007, which was something Allen had done to prepare for games his entire career. The dribbling annoyed Garnett, though, who told Allen, “No, you’re not going to do that.”
“You can’t tell me what to do,” Allen remembered responding, as teammates looked on. “You do what you do, and I do what I do.”
As Allen wrote, “Gee, can two grown men be any more juvenile?” And it was a similar experience when, before the start of the season, Garnett and Allen went out to dinner at a steakhouse in Boston*and spoke about their roots together as teenage players in the 1990s, and the pain of being on losing teams in the past. After dinner, Allen wrote, he asked the waitress for the check.
“No,” Garnett said, “I tip way better than him, so you better give me the check.” It was the first time they’d gone to dinner together, and Allen pointed out that*Garnett had no idea how much Allen tipped. “There was no point in arguing with the guy,” Allen writes. “What struck me was that he felt the need to be seen as being superior to me, even in something as petty as this.”
At the opposite end of that spectrum is Rondo. Allen describes their early relationship as one of young player and mentor. “I couldn’t have gotten along with him any better,” Allen writes. “He was like a little brother to me.”
But the relationship unraveled after the Celtics’ 2008 championship. Even with the passage of time, Allen still seems at a loss to explain why, exactly, the dynamic between he and Rondo collapsed.
But by 2011, that relationship was in tatters. Allen recalled that in 2009, because the Celtics’ front office had issues with Rondo, there was talk that Allen and Rondo would be traded to Phoenix for a package built around Amar'e Stoudemire. Allen told Rondo at the time that he should talk to team president Danny Ainge to work out their problems and keep from being traded.
It came up again during*the 2010-11 season. In*a team meeting, Allen writes, Rondo told his teammates, “I carried all of you to the championship in 2008.”
Allen continued: “The rest of the team, almost in unison, responded, ‘You*what?’” Rondo said everyone on the team had problems with him, and when Allen told him, “None of us had issues with you,” Rondo said to him, “You did, too. You told me I was the reason we were going to be traded.”
Perhaps that’s where the problem started, then. In the book, Allen seems genuinely unsure of why Rondo turned on him so completely. Allen describes Rondo as a player who expected that he would*be treated as a leader without having done the work to deserve the role, and describes the Celtics as an organization that could not figure out how to handle Rondo. Coach Doc Rivers asked Garnett and Allen to*“let [Rondo] into the circle,” but Allen told Rivers, “We can’t make him a leader, Doc. He has to earn it.”
Allen details the famed incident during the Celtics’ playoff series against Miami in 2011, when Rivers was going over film with the team and pointing out some of the errors made during their losses in the first two games. Rondo*“put his head down and turned his chair toward the lockers.” Rivers implored him to watch the film.
“F—*that film,” Rondo said, according to Allen, hurling a water bottle at the screen and breaking it. Rivers ordered Rondo out. Garnett followed him and said, “Young fella, you need to get your s—*together.”