It seems today’s professional sports atmosphere is one where everyone looks out for only themselves. In the NBA, the formation of so called super-teams is the hot commodity, and stars everywhere can’t wait to hit free agency so they can escape from the team that drafted them and join up with other top players in a major market or warm weather city.
It is for those reasons that Rajon Rondo’s comments this week are a refreshing change of pace. The Boston Celtics are clearly going through a rebuilding phrase, following the offseason trades of franchise icons Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers. However, instead of complaining about the lack of proven talent around him and demanding a trade, Rondo has reaffirmed his commitment to the Celtics.
When asked about the challenge the team faces and whether or not he wants to be a part of it, Rondo responded by saying “I love it here. The fans are great. Danny Ainge has been straightfoward with me. This is my team. Why would I want to leave?” Rondo went on to discuss the rebuilding process, saying he has “never really backed away from a challenge” and that he is “looking forward to working with Brad Stevens.”
Those words must be music to Ainge and Stevens’ ears. No one wants to have an unhappy superstar, and Rondo is notoriously moody. However, he made it very clear that he is truly excited about the challenge of rebuilding the franchise with Stevens and forming a new powerhouse in the East.
Rondo had always been seen as the fourth wheel to the Celtics’ Big Three of Pierce, Garnett and Ray Allen, even though he has clearly been the team’s best player for the last two years. Rondo has not averaged less than 11 APG the last three years, leading the NBA in that category the last two seasons. He has also increased his scoring and rebounding numbers in each of those three seasons, and he is a triple double waiting to happen.
Rondo is looking forward to the challenge of being the Celtics’ unquestioned leader and best player, and that will earn him the respect he deserves. His decision to commit to this franchise and the rebuilding process they are undertaking is very rare in today’s free agency era, and it is certainly an admirable decision.
Celtics fans may be concerned about the future, but they should feel good about the fact that they have a player like Rondo to build around.