Rajon Rondo takes Boston Celtics’ leadership role seriously
And while the self-proclaimed top NBA point guard may at times act cocky, but Rajon Rondo has good reason to lay claim to the leadership role.
Last season, team coach Doc Rivers and Boston Celtics’ “Big Three” then, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett thought they found their man in Rajon Rondo. As they sat down to handover the reigns to point guard, it resonated across pretty clearly – Boston Celtics were now Rajon Rondo’s team.
"For them to have the types of careers they've had as future Hall of Famers,” said Rajon Rondo, “to embrace and – I don't want to say 'let go,' but – kind of let me lead the way, it speaks volumes of their character.”
After all, it’s unusual for NBA veterans like Kevin Garnett, who pack 17 seasons of NBA experience to carve the way for a brash, somewhat over-confident, and loud-mouthed kid like Rajon Rondo to take over the leadership of the team.
"It's not easy letting a young guy with my type of demeanor or attitude come in and take charge,” acknowledged Rajon Rondo. “It's a work in progress.”
But Rajon Rondo began the journey that will take him to this leadership role two years ago when the Boston Celtics faced Miami Heat in Game 3 of their conference semifinals. During the game, Rajon Rondo brutally twisted his arm backwards and was forced to the bench. However, Rajon Rondo returned later in the game to lead the Boston Celtics to their only victory in the series. But it was Rajon Rondo’s “unselfish” act that earned his teammates’ respect and portrayed as in that true leadership role.
“I think I've gained and earned their respect,” claimed Rajon Rondo. “They see how hard I work out here in the gym. They see the way I play the game… I think it was time for me stepping up and taking the role as the leader."
Kevin Garnett believed all along that Rajon Rondo packed the right skill-set to take on the leadership for Boston Celtics, but it has been a gradual learning slope for the 27-year-old point guard who had to prove himself in front of Boston Celtics’ then three future Hall of Famers.
“Me being such a young point guard, if I didn't have the confidence to play with those guys or the confidence to take charge at times,” stated Rajon Rondo, “I don't think I would've become the player I am today."
Kevin Garnett lays claim to multiple NBA titles including MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, as well as All-Star MVP titles. Paul Pierce can match that with Finals MVP, while Jason Terry can boast to the Sixth Man of the Year title.
However, Rajon Rondo also has three All-Star team selections, three conference and two NBA finals appearances up his sleeve to prove his worth for six career seasons.
You don't want to be cocky, but at the same time you want to be confident,” said Rajon Rondo, “especially with this type of team, with this type of role.”