I love players with grit. Players with heart. Flashy is cool but it doesn't last, grit is forever though. So this goes ou to the Tony Allens and Avery Bradleys of the NBA.
But then, where do you stand in my book of grit, Mr. Rajon Rondo
? When I first started watching the NBA, it was when I got cable and I found out that FSN broadcasted every Celtic's game. That was in the 06-07 season. You remember that season don't you Rondo? That was your rookie season. That was the season you really had to prove yourself, you had to go 100% every play. And you did. You were everywhere; getting inbound steals and offensive putbacks and half court shots cause you never gave up on the play. You were getting Tommy Points left and right. That was also the season you guys went 24-58, but that was ok, I became a Celtics
fan and I became a Rondo fan.
Then the next season you guys swung for the fences and reeled in Kevin Garnett
and Ray Allen
in one of the biggest and most brilliant trades in NBA history. And you guys killed it. So dominant. Blowouts by the start of the third quarter every game and by the 4th quarter the starters would be resting and the bench would be getting their garbage time, good times. The analysts and the critics and the fans would only talk about the Big 3, that's all they saw, but through all that, I saw you. Still doing your thing, still hustling and making gritty heads up plays while still doing it with your tricks; with your own flair and style. Then you broke out in the playoffs next season against the Bulls
, you got big. And since then you've been getting bigger and better; racking up assists, triple doubles, carrying the team, signature moves, and national recognition... but you weren't the same Rondo anymore. You started choosing when to go 100% You didn't hustle every play like you used to, letting players go by you and trying to swipe from the back.. lazy, that's not the Rondo I knew.
Rondo today is great. He's a better player than Rondo of yesterday. He does great, pretty things. But he doesn't go as hard. He doesn't go as much. He lost some grit. Maybe it's ok to just save it for the playoffs, maybe it isn't. But still, on the plays he does grind on, I smile, I'm happy, I see the old Rondo, and as I reminisce of those early seasons, I am reassured that Rondo is a player with heart and I know that I will always be a Rondo fan.
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