Dear Rajon Rondo,
Don't listen to the noise. I have no doubt you've heard this before from friends, family, coaches and teammates. But you should also hear it from the same peanut gallery that creates the noise in the first place. I highly doubt you'll ever read this, but it doesn't really matter, it needs to be written nonetheless.
We talk a lot of crap, we fans and media, and it comes from a place of intense caring, but it's still crap. Just know that when we talk crap about you, it comes from a place of caring about you. And regardless of how that sounds, for one reason or another, we do care about you. It's important that you know this and it's important that we remember it.
There's something else you should know about Boston sports fans; something we should remember about ourselves. We do not respect intelligent sports figures, we expect them. Intelligence is a standard to which we hold our players to. But it is not what we respect about our players, it is not what endears us to them. What gains the respect of the Boston sports fan is fire.
The kind of fire that brings a catcher to pop Alex Rodriguez in the face so that everyone knows we won't go quietly into the night. The kind of fire that leads a pitcher to tell the whole Yankee dugout that he has no problem beaning them all in the head. The kind of fire that gives you the single-mindedness to win every football game you can with a cold, calculated precision that garners hatred from everyone who isn't cheering you on. The kind of fire that makes you pound your chest with a scowl on your face after icing a basketball game with a dagger of a three ball. The kind of fire that compels a point guard to tell his coach, ‘I've got LeBron', and then shadow the King even into his own huddle. Or have your arm bent 90 degrees in the wrong direction and play through it. Or go up against the defensive player of the year for a rebound, come down on your back and play through that.
That's what sells jerseys in Boston. Fire. And if playing with fire means that you get burned every once in a while, then so be it. We'll endure the chest bumps, Rajon, we've been through worse. You're being asked to be the torch that carries one generation of Celtics to the next. You are the future of the Celtics, for better or for worse. So whatever happens, just burn, Rajon. Burn.
Dylan Lee Peters