Rajon Rondo is slowly becoming a household name. While doing so, he might just land himself another NBA championship.
Rondo, the young, Celtics’ point guard, is taking these playoffs by storm. So far, he’s averaged eighteen points, eleven assists and six rebounds, including a eye-popping 29, 18 and 13 performance against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. As we inch closer to the NBA Finals, Rondo continues to rise to the occasion. Prior to Game Four, Rondo had outplayed his opponent, Jameer Nelson, in every facet of the game.
Rondo’s impressing even the most skeptical of critics. I’ve had a number of friends, well-versed in all things basketball, text me lately, calling Rondo the best point guard in the league. Not Steve Nash, not Chris Paul, not Deron Williams. Rondo. I even had a hardcore Celtics fan tell me he’s one of the greatest Celtics ever.
Brotha E: “Best guard in the league PERIOD!” (E must have temporarily forgotten about Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade)
Croshere: “Rondo has become ridiculous. If he can start hitting 18-footers, he could be the best player in the game. I said it.”
Snake: “I’ll say it again. Rajon Rondo will go down as the greatest point guard EVER!”
*Hopefully putting my friends’ texts on the internet for all to see will not dissuade them from texting me in the future.
Now clearly my friends drink a lot but it’s nice to see they’re as prone to exaggeration as your average television sports analyst. Heck, even Magic Johnson called Rondo the best all-round point guard in the league. Last time I checked, Earvin knows a little something about the position. But that’s the kind of response Rondo elicits from the basketball community.
As a college athlete at Kentucky, Rondo could fill a stat sheet. He averaged eleven points, six assists and five rebounds his sophomore year. But nobody, other than maybe Rondo himself, expected this kind of production. He’s a scrawny kid from Louisville, 190 pounds soaking wet, who has become the leader, dare I say best player, on a team that features three, perhaps four, future Hall of Famers.
But why all the love? We’ve seen point guards dominate the post-season before.
Then it hit me.
At the risk of sounding either cheesy or overly patriotic, Rajon Rondo’s style of play embodies the American spirit. Think about it. Rondo outhustles. Rondo outworks. Rondo outsmarts. Rondo gives it his all. Rondo sacrifices for the greater good. Rondo came from nowhere to exceed all expectations. He makes those around him better. Rondo represents everything that should be on a basketball court.
One need only look at a pivotal point in Game Three against Orlando, when Rondo, like Cowens and Bird before him, dove after a loose ball that his opponent was clearly in better position for, then not only recovered it, but scored. If these playoffs are remembered for one play alone, that will be the one.
The irony of Rajon Rondo is that he demands your attention as a fan, yet continuously loses those assigned to defend him. He’s flashy in an unassuming way, completing no-look or behind the back passes only as needed. He’s the most frail of his teammates yet plays larger than them all. He directs traffic and dictates tempo. His effort is contagious. He’s the hardest-working guy on the floor and that’s what America loves.
Rajon Rondo may or may not be the best point guard in the league but he’s definitely in the conversation. One thing, however, is indisputable. At 24 years old, he already has one more ring than LeBron James and maybe more than that when it’s all said and done.