ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith has called out Los Angeles Lakers star Rajon Rondo to let him know he's fully aware of the fact that the point guard aimed a disrespectful comment at him after his side's win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Smith started off on Thursday's instalment of First Take by sending a message to the player, whom he says he's eager to speak to following the incident.
While he admits Rondo didn't call him out by name, Smith alleges that the veteran referred to him as a "punk a** reporter" during a locker-room interview, something he believes stems from his criticism of the guard spitting in Chris Paul's face a few weeks back.
“As an aside, I just wanted, if you don’t mind, I just wanted to deviate away from this particular subject. I wanted to start off the show saying something — when I was in the Lakers locker room last night, Mr. Rondo directed a very disrespectful comment my way," Smith said on the show.
"He didn’t say it by name. I was standing right next to him. I just kept my head down because out of respect to the Los Angeles Lakers as an organization, I didn’t want to make a scene. So, I just left it at that. I just want Rondo to know I know that.
"Number 1. And Number 2 - I stand by my proclamation that he deserved a 15-game suspension for spitting in the face of Chris Paul. And last but not least, I just want to say out of respect for him, I would remind him … I never said anything about why he left Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Sacramento, it goes on and on. I’ll just leave it at that.
“Anytime he wants to have a big man conversation, I’m more than willing to have a conversation because I do respect him.”
The analyst also made mention of the incident on his own show, insisting that he has no qualms getting into a confrontation but his respect for the Lakers as an organization and his friendship with Magic Johnson, as well as some of their players - especially LeBron James - prompted him to stay quiet.
Smith also claims to have lots of ammunition to talk about Rondo but also respects him as a player and a champion. "I respect the hell out of him," he declared. "I just don't respect what he did to CP3 that day... and the fact that he tried to deny it."
The seasoned reporter has let Rondo know that he's not hard to find and is very much open to having a one-on-one conversation if the player wants to do so.