Over the last few years, Rajon Rondo has caught a lot of flack for is demeanor on and off of the court with the Boston Celtics organization, the NBA and his teammates.
There’s the notable quarrel between he and Ray Allen that first comes to mind when thinking about Rondo’s relationship with his teammates. Once the national media got a hold of that story, Rondo’s credibility started to take a turn for the worst. Since then, and even before, he’s had a few spats with multiple officials during games–what first comes to mind is his suspension in the NBA Playoffs when facing elimination against the Atlanta Hawks.
Rondo has also had his quarrels with NBA players not on his team–this ranges from Kris Humphries to Chris Paul to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. By now, you can see what I’m getting at here.
Rondo has a reputation as a bad guy among many NBA circles in and outside of the league. Now, going into his first season without Doc Rivers and no remnants of the Big Three era left in the organization aside from himself, Rondo is going to have to step into the leadership role gracefully if the Celtics are going to win.
Well, on Sunday, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe released a one-on-one interview he had with Paul Pierce. Rondo and his new leadership role came up into the discussion. Keep in mind that there have been rumors that Pierce and Rondo had their differences within the locker room.
“Without question [he can be the man in Boston],” Pierce said. “I’ve already talked to Rajon; Rajon’s mature. People talk about the relationship with Doc, and they probably had their best years over the last two years. So I don’t think that was a reason for Doc leaving. I’ve heard that, but that wasn’t a reason for Doc not coming back.
“Rondo is one of the best players in the league. He’s a guy who can be the face of a franchise. He’s won a championship, he’s been an All-Star. There’s a lot of organizations who don’t even have a face of that caliber.
“I definitely think he’s matured and can handle a lot. I talked to him and he’s ready for the challenge. He knows that it’s his team. He knows he has to be a leader, and from being around me and Kevin and seeing how we work.”
Pierce definitely believes in Rondo as a player and apparently believes in him as a leader as well. If it takes one to know one, Pierce would definitely know. He’s had his ups and downs with the structure of the NBA and the Celtics as well throughout his past.
He wasn’t always known as ‘The Captain’ around the organization. When he first arrived from Kansas, Pierce was a raw, big headed player who thought that he was better than he actually was. It took some growing up and maturing, but Pierce is now one of the best players in the league’s history and in Celtics history.
He knows what the process is like to become a leader and a great player and sees that Rondo has what it takes. He knows Rondo personally, and he doesn’t believe that Rondo had any major issue with himself or anyone else on the team either. This is a far different take from anything that we’ve heard or seen in the media recently.
There’s no telling where the organization will go from here, but its obvious that Rajon Rondo is going to be apart of that in some way, shape or form. Its great to know that he has players of Pierce’s caliber backing him up as the he goes along the way.