|Posted on July 9, 2013 at 10:35 AM|
It's been striking to see that the Trade Rondo bandwagon is picking up steam again, after it stalled out for perhaps 24 hours, when Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge seemed to commit themselves to Rondo. It's making me hate Celtics Fans. Even those who supposedly like Rondo seem to be saying that we should 'give' Rondo six months or so to show that he's on board with the rebuild, and then, if he causes problems, boom - OUTATOWN.
One expect this kind of meanspirited nonsense from the likes of Tanguay and Ryan, but it seems to have become consensus. I find that disgusting.
I can't figure out what is wrong with the fandom. Is it the influence of fantasy sports, and beyond that the influence of 'advanced stats', all of which seems to virtually eradicate the importance of intangibles in sports, all of which tends to turn players into things, not beings? Is it the broader acceptance in society of the idea that power and control really are the root of all 'realworld' ethics? It's not hard to see the influence of such thinking in the machiavellian love affair fans and talking heads seem to be having with the idea of 'tanking'. According to such luminaries as Bill Simmons ...
... tanking is such a desirable thing for the Celtics that it may be vital to trade Rondo, or otherwise mess with his career (eg. by holding him out unnecessarily), in order to turn next season into a fully realized tank job. And why must we tank? Well, because that's how you get a star. But wait, don't we have a star on the verge of superstardom?
Oh well, I guess all the smart folk have convinced themselves that Rondo is a malcontent semi-star. What can one say to such muddleheaded group think? They all seem to want that bright shining lottery draft pick. Or that 'legitimate big', even if he's only a semi-legitimate project big like Detroit's Drummond.
In a way, what it comes down to is this: the only way for Rondo to get away from the ravening herds of haters and semi-haters that trample all the land around him in Boston will be, it seems, for him to go elsewhere. And this: Rondo's reward for six years of subordinating his game to the Holy Three and the Sainted Rivers is not his own chance to lead the Celtics, but rather the opportunity to be shipped out of town, either immediately, or after a six month stay of execution. First he was subordinated to the Big Three. Now he is to be subordinated to the Big Rebuild, and to some coach who just got plucked out of college. He helped lead us to a championship and he led us deep into the playoffs three more times. But this counts for nothing. Both the 'trade 'im while you still can' crowd, and the 'trade him if he doesn't kowtow to the New Regime' crowd want essentially the same thing; they want to cow him, to break him down, to break him. I don't want that. I like Rondo unbroken. I love Rondo unbroken. To me, Rondo unbroken is inspiring. He represents what makes basketball basketball.
To me Rondo represents the inner city, and the hot summer sun, and big grey walls covered with graffiti, and the cracked hardtop of a heavily frequented basketball court, and thirst, physical thirst yes, but more than that, thirst for something beautiful. Watching the other guys play and noticing something you love in someone else's game, and working on your own game, incorporating the new idea you saw, in a world where the game is what you and the people around you make it ... that's Rondo to me. It's about refusing to be broken.
We'll find out a lot in the next six months about how Danny Ainge sees basketball. Does he truly believe in the genius of the young star he plucked out of the netherworld of the lower regions of the NBA draft, just as he believes in the genius of the young coach he plucked from the college ranks? I think Danny has taken two leaps of faith, with Rondo and with Stevens. Now it's time for him to be steadfast, despite the baying of the fans and the talking heads.