|Posted on January 27, 2013 at 9:25 PM|
I can't imagine what Rajon Rondo is going through right now. Comments from Keyon Dooling and Grousbeck suggest that he is pretty much in a state of shock. How tough is this kid? He seems to have injured that leg multiple times against the Hawks but kept playing. He didn't even know he was seriously hurt and thought it was just a hamstring. I'm not a Jackie Macmullen fan, but she provides a lot of great background on all this:
Thanks Jackie. I know that as a fan I'm in a bit of a state of shock myself. I know the team can go forward and maybe do better even. There's no question that Rondo has struggled over the last two years to find his way to lead this team, and even though he seemed to find his bearings as a leader towards the end of last summer, personnel changed radically, and his struggle to lead seemed even more difficult and maybe even bewildering this year. Maybe things will be simpler for the Cs without the Complicated One in the mix.
So the team will be ok. But I won't be. For me, fandom becomes something intensely meaningful when there is a combination of a player and a team that moves me. I've always loved the Celtics, of course, as a native Bostonian. When I was a kid, I idolized Dave Cowens. I loved his passion. I loved his guts blue collar game. I loved his intelligence and creativity. Folks don't realize today that Cowens' game had a lot of finesse, and that he was the kind of player that seemed to understand everything that was happening with his team, because he saw the game as something bigger than just basketball. I think the great ones are always like that.
I loved Bird, of course. He changed the NBA and emphasized passing. I loved Isiah Thomas. I never got into the Pistons because the combination of team and player wasn't there, but if I'd grown up in Detroit I would have loved the Bad Boy Pistons. I didn't really get into the 2008 Celtics that much, because back then, I really didn't see KG as a Celtic. The 2010 Celtics won my heart because of the way they rode grit and guts almost all the way to the title. To me, that was classic Celtics Pride. I loved that. And then there was Rondo.
I loved a lot of things about Rondo, but to me, it really came down to the fact that here was a guy who on any given night was likely to show you something wonderful that you had never seen or expected to see on a basketball court before. There's so much more to say about Rondo, but when you really come down to it, that is what makes him a player that folks are so passionate about. Some folks call it flash. I guess they are the haters. They convince themselves that if you take away the flash, there's nothing there. To them, the lunchpail credentials of guys like Bradley and Sully are what the game is all about, I guess. I love those two guys too, especially Sully, the New Cowens. I have to admit, too, that I wish Rondo had just a touch more lunchpail to his game. I won't deny that. But there is a lot of steel in Rondo's game, and while I don't doubt that sometimes he tries a bit too hard to be amazing, mostly, when he makes an amazing play, it's because that was the best possible play to make, only he saw it and no one else even imagined it.
So Rondo has become my favorite player. And seriously, what other player have you ever seen with such an amazing following of former and current great players? I think they see the same thing I do. I think they see a player who constantly amazes and inspires lovers of the game of basketball with the uncanny, the imaginative, the play that you never thought you'd see that somehow seems perfect once seen.
And now? Apparently Rondo thinks he will be back in six months. Well, if anyone can make a fast recovery, it's him. And if anyone can come back a player who is as good or better, it's him. Certainly it will give Rondo time to reflect on how to develope his game in the areas where weakness hurt him and the team. I still believe that this Rondo is a very special player and potentially a leader of many great Celtics teams. And I hope the team continues to build around Rondo. It's a risk, but it's the risk I would take. Any direction you go in is a risk. I wish Doc would work with Rondo on planning the Celtics offense going forward. Heck, I wish he'd have Rondo coach informally.
The most important thing, Rondo, is just get better. Take care of yourself. And please come back strong. We need you. Basketball needs you.