When you talk to most professional athletes, they can usually rattle off who their favorite players were that came before them. Not Rajon Rondo. The Celtics point guard is focused on the present and presently, that means beating the Heat and winning a championship.
Mark Murphy's piece on Rondo confirms what I've thought about RR for a long time: one of the big reasons his game is so unique and unconventional is because growing up, he never really was a basketball fan. In the article, he mentions that his favorite professional athlete didn't even play hoops; it was Brett Favre. In the past, I've used words like "basketball savant" and "freelancer" to descibe Rondo because it doesn't seem like he's patterned his game after anybody or holds a Hall-of-Famer in high regard. Unlike Kobe's obsession with Michael Jordan or Dwight's mirrored career path of Shaq, Rondo has no parallel to the past. When asked about being the most recent link in a line of great Celtic point guards, Rondo (in typical Rondo fashion) responded:
"I've seen highlights of Cousy, but not any actual tape," he said.
White, a fixture on game night, occasionally will talk shop with his contemporary. But Archibald? Rondo, whose favorite athlete as a kid was a football player (Brett Favre), responded blankly.
"Don't know him. Did they have tape back then?" he asked. "He played with Larry (Bird)? How many minutes did he play?"
Rondo, consumed by the present, has little interest in reading his team's back pages.
"I haven't watched any of them," he said. "I've never seen a game of any of the point guards to where I can see that I see something about my game in one of them. In the past I broke a couple of records, but I don't really know. I'm just playing basketball right now. Right now, to me, it's about just trying to win championships."
Most players talk about the guys that came before them with reverence, but not Rondo. I believe him when he says that he's never seen Cousy or Tiny play. Unless the PR department is planning an alumni game where he might have to go head-to-head with these Celtic greats, Rondo will continue to live in the present and that's just fine.