Friday, 5 November 2010

It's only fitting...

To start with Rajon Rondo. The 24-year-old glue sticking together the 30-something-year-old future hall-of-famers. The reason they'll get there sooner. The only possible way they can add the final ring before they retire. The on-court manager. The instigator. Doc Rivers' second pair of eyes. One of the best passers the NBA has ever seen. The best stealer the league has today. The future of the Boston Celtics.
Improving year-on-year, Rondo has exploded out of the blocks in the early season, recording an astounding 82 assists in the first five games, including a career-high 24 against the New York Knicks. He's set the league record for the highest amount of assists after three, four and five games into the season, something which will surely lead to an incredible total after 82 regular season games. Combined with a lightning-fast break to the basket, and an increasingly effective jump shot, the new favourite of the TD Garden is virtually impossible to guard.
Rondo has often been criticised, both within the Boston camp, and by pundits looking in, for his unwavering self-confidence, which some people view to be arrogance. It's true, he does have a very strong character, but to survive in a side with Kevin Garnett staring right through you and lambasting you for even the most academic of mistakes, you need to have thick skin. Rondo is a natural-born leader, often taking over from the coach in designing plays during time-outs in clutch time.
Rondo's rise to prominence has led to him being one of the most sought-after poster boys in world basketball. As a result of fronting Red Bull, Rondo was the ambassador and main attraction at the King of the Rock tournament on Alcatraz over the summer. The tournament, which pits wannabe basketball players from across the streets of the USA against each other in a one-on-one situation, reflects Rondo's style of play - isolating the opponent, selling him with a trick, bursting past him with devastating pace before finishing at the hoop.
On top of this, Rondo also starred in various adverts for NBA 2K11, the USA's answer to FIFA 10. Seen laughing and joking with other stars such as Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, in one advert Rondo took great satisfaction in that he was the only member of the crew with a championship ring.
Rondo currently shares the court with new member of the 20,000-point club Paul Pierce, dominant big man and massively imposing figure Kevin Garnett, and the best three-point shooter the league has ever seen in Ray Allen. Add one of the most famous names basketball has ever known in Shaquille O'Neal; the most no-nonsense centre currently playing the game in Kendrick Perkins, as well as rapidly-improving Glen Davis and triple Slam Dunk Contest winner Nate Robinson.
Having taken the Lakers to game seven last season, who's to say the Rondo-driven Celtics won't go one better this year.
Rondo has already been named to two NBA All-Defence teams, as well as making his first appearance at the All Star game in Dallas in February. His resume is increasing all the time; he holds franchise records for Boston in both steals and assists, both set in the 2009-10 season. What price he won't smash them both this season.
It's fair to say I love Rajon Rondo. I love his story of coming into a side full of stars and moulding them into his team. I love the way he conducts himself on court, his never-say-die attitude, epitomised by one play against Orlando's Jason Williams in last season's play-offs.
The Magic had the ball, but it was knocked away into their back court. Williams went back to get it, seemingly in plenty of time. But while others stood and watched, Rondo gave chase, and before Williams could pick it up, Rondo dived headfirst along the floor, grabbed the ball, got up, rounded Williams and laid it in. The Boston crowd went crazy. The Boston bench went crazy. I, sitting on my sofa watching the game live on an illegal internet stream, went crazy. The heart, commitment, appreciation of the game, and sense of theatre Rondo showed in that five-second play was jaw-dropping and impressive to even the most anti-Celtic man.
Rondo has the ability, not only to single-handedly win basketball games, but to do so in a manner which leaves the viewer with a smile on their face and a 'wow, that guy plays exciting basketball' feeling.
Tomorrow sees Rondo and the Celtics pit their 4-1 record against the Chicago Bulls, who tonight got heavily beaten at home to the Knicks. The second night of a back-to-back is never easy, so hopefully the C's can extend to 5-1. I'll let you know how everyone, especially my man, gets on. Cya.


  1. stop writing about netball and get some feetball up there