The 2008 Celtics had three future Corridor of Famers in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.
And a younger level guard named Rajon Rondo.
In simply his second 12 months, Rondo was seen as a weak hyperlink in Boston’s championship hopes. He was gifted, however uncooked. At finest, he was a wildcard.
So, Boston signed Sam Cassell as a backup shortly earlier than the playoffs. Cassell received titles in his first two NBA seasons, with the Rockets in 1994 and 1995. Within the years since, he by no means returned to the NBA Finals however developed right into a reliable veteran. He was fairly excited for his alternative with the Celtics.
“I received championships so early in my profession, the primary two years, and I assumed, ‘That’s the way it’s going to be,’” Cassell stated. “Let me let you know one thing. Whenever you miss it and miss it and miss it 12 months after 12 months after 12 months…”
Cassell – with the assistance of Rondo and the Large Three – obtained his gratification, successful a 3rd title 14 years after his first.
Now, 12 years later, Rondo sounds so much like Cassell.
Rondo’s Lakers are up 3-1 on the Warmth within the Finals. In Recreation 5 tonight, he may win his first championship since 2008.
“I positively recognize it extra,” Rondo stated. “…Considering you’re going to proceed to return time and again, and it simply doesn’t occur…”
If Los Angeles wins, Rondo can have gone 12 years between his first and final titles – one of many longest such reigns in NBA historical past.
Listed below are the gamers who’ve gone the longest between their first and final championships, the variety of years marked:
Championships received by gamers on the chart:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 1971 MIL, 1980 LAL, 1982 LAL, 1985 LAL, 1987 LAL, 1988 LAL
- Robert Parish: 1981 BOS, 1984 BOS, 1986 BOS, 1997 CHI
- Tim Duncan: 1999 SAS, 2003 SAS, 2005 SAS, 2007 SAS, 2014 SAS
- Sam Cassell: 1994 HOU, 1995 HOU, 2008 BOS
- Robert Horry: 1994 HOU, 1995 HOU, 2000 LAL, 2001 LAL, 2002 LAL, 2005 SAS, 2007 SAS
- A.C. Inexperienced: 1987 LAL, 1988 LAL, 2000 LAL
- John Havlicek: 1963 BOS, 1964 BOS, 1965 BOS, 1966 BOS, 1968 BOS, 1969 BOS, 1974 BOS, 1976 BOS
- Rajon Rondo: 2008 BOS
- Invoice Russell: 1957 BOS, 1959 BOS, 1960 BOS, 1961 BOS, 1962 BOS, 1963 BOS, 1964 BOS, 1965 BOS, 1966 BOS, 1968 BOS, 1969 BOS
- Tony Parker: 2003 SAS, 2005 SAS, 2007 SAS, 2014 SAS
- John Salley: 1989 DET, 1990 DET, 1996 CHI, 2000 LAL
- Earl Cureton: 1983 PHI, 1994 HOU
- Kobe Bryant: 2000 LAL, 2001 LAL, 2002 LAL, 2009 LAL, 2010 LAL
- Derek Fisher: 2000 LAL, 2001 LAL, 2002 LAL, 2009 LAL, 2010 LAL
- Horace Grant: 1991 CHI, 1992 CHI, 1993 CHI, 2001 LAL
- Don Nelson: 1966 BOS, 1968 BOS, 1969 BOS, 1974 BOS, 1976 BOS
- Sam Jones: 1959 BOS, 1960 BOS, 1961 BOS, 1962 BOS, 1963 BOS, 1964 BOS, 1965 BOS, 1966 BOS, 1968 BOS, 1969 BOS
- Clyde Lovellette: 1954 MNL, 1963 BOS, 1964 BOS
Clearly, Rondo’s profession isn’t as spectacular as different gamers listed. Not like gamers like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan and Invoice Russell, Rondo was by no means a celebrity who yearly elevated his staff into championship competition. On this group, solely Rondo and Earl Cureton (a deep reserve on the 1983 76ers and 1994 Rockets) received fewer than three championships.
In some ways, Rondo’s accomplishment is a product of circumstance. Rondo didn’t management beginning his profession with Boston, which obtained him with the No. 21 choose in a draft-day commerce in 2006. He simply occurred to hitch a staff that already had Pierce and was just one 12 months from buying and selling for Allen and Garnett.
However Rondo deserves credit score for the way rapidly he obtained in control. Few second-year gamers, even these certain for stardom, can deal with a lot deep into the playoffs. Rondo was superior.
He turned an skilled in studying the ground as a passer and savvy defender and rebounder. Rondo has planted himself firmly in discussions of the league’s most clever gamers.
Rondo had some ugly stints with the Mavericks, Kings and Bulls later in his profession. In his first season in Los Angeles, he regarded like a horrible match with LeBron James. Tom Haberstroh:
However the Lakers nonetheless re-signed Rondo final offseason – and you’ll draw a line from Rondo’s Boston title to that call.
The Celtics beat the Lakers within the 2008 Finals and misplaced to the Lakers within the 2010 Finals. In these battles, Rondo earned the respect of Kobe Bryant. Years later, Bryant recruited Rondo exhausting to Los Angeles. Assume that resonated with Lakers basic supervisor Rob Pelinka, Bryant’s buddy and former agent?
Again with the Lakers, Rondo improved his chemistry with LeBron. Rondo has performed key minutes in these playoffs and normally justified Frank Vogel’s religion. Behind the scenes, Rondo additionally continues to assist Los Angeles’ younger gamers develop.
So, sure, it’s considerably coincidental Rondo occurs to be on the doubtless champion. He simply may have spent the season with another staff, perhaps even an excellent one, that fell brief. However he’s good and decided sufficient to maintain pushing ahead. He provides himself alternatives.
One other title 12 years after his first could be such a becoming ode to his immediate and enduring capacity to contribute to successful on the best ranges.
Rajon Rondo, 12 years after Celtics title, on cusp of historical past with Lakers initially appeared on NBCSports.com