As an avid Celtics fan since 2009, Rajon Rondo was (and will continue to be) my favourite player to wear that green jersey. I could write a book about why I like this guy – but we’ll keep it down to a few highlights for the time being.
The 2009-10 season was the first year I experienced as a fully-fledged NBA fanatic, so the 2010 Finals series serves to be one of my fondest memories of RR. He had that triple-double in a game where Ray Allen knocked down 8 shots from beyond the arc to tie the series, a game-clinching jump shot in the same game, that offensive tip-in over Kobe, and even coming up with a big basket in that awful 4th quarter of game 7.
The other times of the 2010 playoffs that come to mind are that dive across the parquet in front of Jason Williams in the Eastern Conference finals of the same year, confusing Marcin Gortat time and again with his behind-the-back fakes, or making LeBron fly for no reason while posting a signature triple-double.
Fast forward to the 2012 playoffs, and the mind automatically goes to that series against Miami. He was unstoppable, and almost took that team past the eventual champions for that year – fighting through that dislocated elbow that has now become a part of Celtic folklore. But the series before that was just as memorable for me, with a huge performance in game 7 against the 76ers lifting the inconsistent C’s through to the next round with, you guessed it, another triple-double, and some big baskets down the stretch.
Playoff Rondo. What more can you say about his performances when it mattered most? He was, and is, a star, and it’s going to take plenty of time to move past this decision based purely on business. He had a highlight reel that was so unique with his dimes, trick shots, behind-the-back passes, floaters, dunks over big guys like Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard, and even a few dream shakes thrown in for good measure. Not to mention the calibre of players he went to work with, dishing assists to the likes of KG, the Truth, Ray Allen, Shaquille O’Neal, and of course, Brian Scalabrine.
To experience the unique individual that is Rajon Rondo for so many years has been an absolute pleasure. His determination to win games of Connect 4 against any opponent regardless of age, his fierce loyalty to his teammates on and off the court, that playful side we saw in the season featuring Nate Robinson and Shaq, his deadpan responses and mind games with the media, and watching him grow into the leader and captain of this franchise.
I will be getting behind the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs this year in the hope of seeing #9 win a second championship. From an individual perspective, I really hope this trade treats Rajon as well as he has treated us Celtics fans since 2006. I also hope that the best part of 8 years of service in an era of success for Boston will be enough to see that #9 hanging in the rafters alongside 5, 34 and 20 in the future. I will always be an avid supporter of Team Rondo.
– Michael (@mickyt34)