The former Boston point guard was decisive in the NBA playoffs for the triumph of Los Angeles when no one gave a peso for him.
Ray Allen He was a symbol and idol of the Boston Celtics until he decided to “betray” the franchise by going to the Miami Heat, a direct rival between the late 2000s and early 2010. It hurt both fans and his teammates. Rajon Rondo, one of them, left him out when he organized a reunion of the 2008 champions. “Going with the enemy is unheard of”he said then, still hurt. Three years later, Rondo is NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers: the historical “enemy” of the Celtics.
A detail about Rondo does not go unnoticed neither in the statistics books nor in Argentina. It is that in this postseason the point guard unseated an achievement of none other than Emanuel Ginobili: he gave 105 assists starting as a substitute, surpassing the 95 of the Argentine in the 2014 playoffs.
The fan-base (swollen) of the leprechaun and clover team, however, he does not question it as he did with the shooter. After all, when he left the East Coast franchise, it was because they pierced it. And he came to LA after a journey that had pushed his career into question about how much more he could offer.
Superb driver and playmaker at the time, four times All-Star, three times maximum assistant of the league, a four-time member of the best defensive teams and champion in 2008 (his second year in the league), after his departure from Boston he went through a whopping six teams in three seasons.
And he arrived, a decade after that title conquered dressed in green, to the state of California to dress in purple and gold. For many, their best years were already in the chest of memories. He didn’t care.
“I don’t feed on people looking down on me. I’ve been looked down on all my life, Since I draftearon. I laugh at the criticism. You can’t measure someone’s heart, their determination, or the work they put into their game, “he told The Undefeated in his final days in New Orleans, his last team before joining the Lakers less than 24 hours after LeBron James arranged with that team.
His little interest in what they will say may have to do with knowing where he passes The truth of the Milanese in this life: his dad left the family when he was 7 years old and his mother raised him and his siblings in their native Louisville.
Base of those from before and with style of those from abroad, who like to be the ones who they call the plays – in the NBA it is usually done by coaches – Rondo is also considered one of the smartest players ever seen in the league.
On the way to this title, he showed off his basketball coefficient by assuming a secondary role, playing for the first time since his debut year clearly from the bench and with the fewest minutes he had seen in his previous 14 seasons.
And he brought out something that distinguishes him: improve in the decisive moments. In this postseason, “the playoff Rondo” was talked about again, as if it were a Rajon who wears the superhero suit in this instance. And some of that, at least this time, there was.
In not a few moments, the base became the key that allowed crossing complex thresholds, a formula to which the rivals, focused on James and Anthony Davis, could not find answers.
He was absolutely decisive in the series against Houston, distributing game, scoring and even showing an oiled three-point shot that never characterized him, and converting during the rest of the series – at least from the statistical point of view, which is becoming increasingly valuable and offers more information- on the player whose presence or absence was most noted for and against.
“When the playoffs start, Rondo is completely different,” his former coach told ESPN. Alvin Gentry-. You play several times against the same team: adjustments, trends are important. There Rondo has the advantage: when the game becomes cerebral. “
But everything he contributed on the court he also did outside it, in the shadows, in the moments that end up influencing what happens when it comes to going out to play. During last season he stood up to LeBron himself, who had also been a rival in those times of duels between Miami and Boston, because of the ways that the forward had towards his teammates.
“When guys get wrong over and over again, it’s hard to hold back. So I tried to get (James) to focus on his body language. Young people watched everything he did. If they missed four shots and he made faces, that would kill them. (LeBron) was his Michael Jordan: they didn’t want to let him down. But when (instead of putting faces) I said something positive to them, they immediately recovered, “he said.
Punished by injuries throughout his career – even when he was supposed to start the bubble he suffered a fractured finger that allowed him to return to the playoffs only – at 34, Rondo prevailed and ended up achieving a feat: after Clyde Lovellette he is the second player in history to be champion with Celtics and Lakers. And the first since his current team plays in Los Angeles.