|Posted by paul on September 20, 2013 at 7:35 AM|
Shawn wrote about Celtics Pride today, and about Rondo's place in Celtics history. It's a good time to think about these things, because it's a time of transition for the Celtics. The Big Three era is over. The Rondo era begins. It could end tomorrow if Danny announces another blockbuster trade. Danny loves that stuff almost more than he loves winning championships, unfortunately. Sometimes, though, I think that Danny will never really trade Rondo, because he surely sees what many of us see: that Rondo is a True Celtic.
We all remember that great moment in Star Wars where Obi Wan says about Luke Skywalker, "the Force is strong with this one!" Or was it Qui Gon saying it about Anneken? I can't remember - but it was a great movie moment. I suspect many of us have had our Obi Wan moments with Rondo. For me it was that great play that I suspect hooked a lot of people, where he chased the ball down the court, outhustling another player while diving to the floor, and somehow managed to pull himself to his feet and make the play to get the ball into the basket - all before the rest of the two teams made it to halfcourt (or so it seemed). This was in the playoffs against the Magic, as I recall, and it got played over and over on TV, and it was compared over and over again to Cowens' great play where he poked the ball away from Oscar Robertson on the perimeter, and then chased the ball down, diving to the floor, and passed it off to a teammate. These are plays that one can watch again and again because not only do they reflect great athletic ability, but they also perfectly express the mentalities of the players who made them. Great players transform the game.
I know I talk about Cowens a lot, but it's important to try to make up for the way the rest of the basketball world ignores him. Cowens deserves credit, I think, for checking Kareem's career. Early in his career, Kareem looked like he was going to absolutely eat the rest of the league alive. He looked like he'd win every championship in the seventies. Cowens showed that, while Kareen couldn't be stopped, he could be fought to a near standstill, and that opened the seventies up for the Celtics, and for other teams. Cowens made the untouchable player touchable, and in that way, for starters, he imposed his will on the history of the game. I wonder if Cowens had an Obi Wan moment about Rondo when he saw his famous play being compared over and over to Rondo's great play? I wonder if he saw a little bit of himself in Rondo?
Of course, the most famous Obi Wan moment around Rondo was KG realizing during the 2008 preseason that Rondo was a great player. KG made it a point to encourage Rondo after that, helping Rondo to believe that he wasn't just a misfit, that he was capable of greatness, coaching and encouraging Rondo like Obi Wan coaching and encouraging Luke. But KG's most caring moment may have been his decision this summer to leave Rondo behind. I compare it to Obi Wan allowing Darth Vader to defeat him; Obi Wan knew that Luke could never fulfill his destiny as long as he had Obi Wan at his side, forever overshadowing him. Obi Wan had learned this from his own relationship with his master Qui Gon, and from what happened to Anneken; a true mentor must know when to support and encourage, but he must also know when to step aside.
So who is Darth Vader to Rondo's Luke Skywalker? Le Ego? Chris Pall?