NBA star Rajon Rondo is one of the Boston Celtics' top players, having helped his team win the championship a few years ago. But he decided to get some experience doing something else he's passionate about, fashion, by interning at GQ magazine during the off season. NBC's Craig Melvin reports.
It’s a safe bet that during New York Fashion Week this month, there was only one unpaid intern signing autographs at the end of his shift.
Boston Celtics star Rajon Rondo took some time off from preparing to undress opposing point guards this upcoming season to work on putting together perfect outfits as an unpaid intern for GQ during New York Fashion Week. The job was no easy layup, either: He put in full eight-hour days and wrote a blog in which he opined on which skull caps he found stylish.
“I never really had a real job,’’ Rondo told NBC’s Craig Melvin on TODAY Wednesday. “I was actually in the GQ plaza working, packing bags. I actually wrote a blog, too. I just didn’t go in there and half-step it. I actually did some work. I slept pretty good those nights, too.”
“His work ethic is absolutely amazing,’’ GQ senior editor Will Welch told NBC News. “He was up for anything, and he's interesting because Rondo's personality is, he sort of always has his game face on.”
While Rondo is known for his fiery demeanor on the court, fashion has always been a second love for him away from basketball. He is not the first athlete to pursue his love for fashion in an official capacity, either, as former NHL player Sean Avery interned for Vogue in 2008.
“You could say that I always wanted to be unique,’’ he said. “Always liked my own style, wanted to be different. Once I got into the NBA, the clothes that you read about in magazines I can actually afford now, and I like the way they feel.’’
Rondo believes that the way he can see Kevin Garnett streaking for an alley-oop one step ahead of the defense is the same as envisioning how a unique outfit will come together.
“It was kind of like seeing a suit before it actually happened, and that’s obviously, in basketball, seeing a play before it develops,’’ he said.
With a closet full of designer jeans and a love of hoodies, Rondo also jokingly admitted he has made some missteps in his fashion purchases along the way. He showed Melvin an unworn pair of gold sneakers and a pair of shorts with a print resembling something out of the Lloyd Christmas “Dumb and Dumber” collection.
“I might give them away, I don’t know,’’ he joked.
Still, despite the occasional fashion mistake, his style has received high marks from the experts.
“He was still the same understated guy, and to me that is sort of a sign of somebody whose style is sort of a little bit more advanced,’’ Welch said.
While many NBA stars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook are known for their unique style, there are some who will not be making the fashion All-Star team any time soon, according to Rondo. He probably earned himself a forearm to the chest the next time he comes into the lane by pointing to Chicago Bulls forward Joakim Noah as a prime offender.
“I try not to judge, but we joke,’’ Rondo said before shaking his head about Noah.
This may only be the beginning of Rondo’s official foray into the fashion world.
“Next year I may intern, do something different,’’ he said. “I just want to keep different parts of life that I probably wasn’t used to be doing. Regardless of how big I got in basketball, I would’ve never met these people. This is a whole different world, the fashion world. I like my options.’’
TODAY contributor Scott Stump still has a pair of Spuds MacKenzie high-tops stashed away in his closet.