If you were dropped onto earth having never witnessed a basketball game and your first experience involved Rajon Rondo, you would rightfully assume that Rondo has to be the quirkiest player in the game.
Listed at 6’1 with a 6’9 wingspan, Rondo utilized a lethal combination of intelligence, aggression, ball handling, athleticism, and selflessness as the perfect complement to the Big-3 Era Boston Celtics of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce.
***Highlights of the video include a younger Jared Weiss soaking in Pop’s musings, Jimmy Toscano lending his voice throughout, Rondo’s hat game, and the frequent pop-ins from Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce***
Rondo’s passing – from his simple chest passes that found shooters in the perfect position, to his fake behind the back medley that still works to this day – deserves its own shrine in the Smithsonian Institution for Basketball Junkies.
That Rondo’s career has taken a sideways turn since leaving Boston by way of trade in December ’14, seems to be emblematic of the four-time all-star’s career.
Rondo’s defensive effort – one that helped him garner four consecutive seasons of NBA All-Defensive honors – noticeably vanished sometime around the 2012-13 season, and his track record with coaches (rarely pleasant) became more publicized after Rondo flat-out quit on his Dallas Mavericks teammates in the first round of the 2015 playoffs.
The Celtics’ lead guard transition from Rondo to Isaiah Thomas has taken the sting out of any Rondo apologist still pining for No. 9 to return to the green and white, yet there is no downplaying Rondo’s success while in Boston.
wo separate playoff series – one in 2010 against Cleveland and the other in 2012 against Miami (both against LeBron James) – stand out as peak-Rondo.In 2010, he averaged 20.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 11.8 assists, and 1.8 steals in the six games, with his Game 4 triple-double performance (29/18/13) the crown jewel of the Celtics’ conference finals victory.In 2012 – on the last legs of the Big-3 Era and clearly underdogs against James and Dwyane Wade – Rondo’s 44-point, 8-rebound, 10-assist offensive clinic in a devastating Game 2 overtime loss in Miami stands out as an all-time great individual performance in Celtics history.
Rondo was the best player for the Celtics during that somewhat impromptu run in 2012, joining Magic Johnson and Russell Westbrook as the only players to average more than 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 11 assists in at least 10 games of postseason play.
To see Rondo – a dinosaur in the Pace and Space era of the NBA – wander aimlessly from team to team during his post-Celtics career is a bit disconcerting and a bit depressing from someone who once earned the moniker, “National TV Rondo.”
With the NBA’s current point-guard-heavy landscape, Rondo was forced to settle on a 1-year, $3.3 million deal with talent-starved New Orleans this offseason.
Perhaps he can regain some of his previous vigor teamed up with All-NBA behemoths Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
Celtics fans – still frazzled by Rondo’s two-game playoff scare with the Bulls most recently – may contend that National TV Rondo is far from gone.
Rondo’s time with the Celtics may have been a lot of things. One thing it wasn’t was boring.