Rajon Rondo has earned much criticism the last few days for not accompanying the Boston Celtics in their travels to Sacramento. Instead, the Celtics’ captain stayed behind in Los Angeles to celebrate his 28th birthday. The Celtics are playing it off as no big deal, however, it’s a reflection of Rondo’s leadership, or lack thereof, and maturity.
It’s no secret that Rondo has gone through a number of growing pains throughout his career. He’s been labeled a “punk” by many and a player who is unequipped to lead a team. I don’t buy into all the Rondo accusations, but in this particular situation, Rondo needs to be with his team, no matter how bad they’ve played and no matter if he is even going to be playing in the game itself. As a captain, a certain level of professionalism is expected at all times.
The situation raises some questions of whether or not to make Rondo the franchise cornerstone. He seemed to be making strides throughout the season regarding his maturity, but this sets him back a bit. The Celtics need to Rondo to grow up in order to get back on track and win the next championship down the road.
This doesn’t seem so bad on the surface, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg considering his past reputation. It’s not exactly fair to rip Rondo for these specific actions, however, playing in Boston demands a special commitment and loyalty to the team. Rondo needs to lead this team by example and continue the tradition of what it means to be a Celtics. Paul Pierce eventually got it, so can Rondo.