By the summer of 1992 the magic had left the Boston Garden. Those ghosts that once haunted our rivals returned to the franchise as a sort of karma engulfed in a longer than life nightmare. Ever since, lots of players have worn the Irish green, athletic freaks as Ricky Davis or Tony Allen, very good playmakers such as Kenny Anderson or Sherman Douglas, skilled forwards such as Antoine Walker or our own Paul Pierce... but we were predictable, our enemies knew how to beat us.
Then two things happened in 2007. The first was the arrival of a genuine beast of the parquets, the most talented and physically gifted big man in the history of the game became a Celtic. He became our modern version of Bill Russell, a fierce competitor, a defensive juggernaut made our team become invincible. He brought back three of the deadly sport mightiest sins: wrath, gluttony and pride. The Celtics have become a mad team since then, just willing to get championship after championship.
The second phenomenon has been developing gradually in the last two years. While we remained obsessed with the silent and deadly caress of Father Time to our veteran leaders we were also gifted with the birth of the most talented young star. Silently, in the dark he waited for his opportunity to shine. He never looked for excuses but at the same time he never avoided any confrontation.
As a sports messiah, he knew his time was going to arrive. He had the whole world convinced of this by the time of game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals. He simply dominated the game without the need of a scoring punch. He just read the game and executed his plan.
His game became epic by the 2009 playoffs against the Chicago Bulls. I had honestly never seen anybody play before like he did in those series. He averaged a triple double against a very good team with another star at the point, Derrick Rose. Right when the Gods of Basketball Justice punished the Great Kevin Garnett for his domination on the rest of the league forwards during more 13 years, Rondo became the new Prometheus to steal the divine mastership of the basketball game. He was simply unstoppable, his reign had started. The Celtics knew it, and they secured their future by extending his contract for the next handful of years.
The truth is that all reasoning leads us to the old laws of Physics, Maths and Biology. According to the laws that rule Mother Nature, there hasn't been a Celtics player like Rajon in decades. And we are not talking about point guards only. With all due respect, Rondo is a freak of nature, a player designed to have his number retired with the greatest of this franchise. And we know this when he is only 24 years old, still far from his prime.
In some place of Kentucky, a man who would defy the laws of sports would be born. Somewhere at some time Larry Bird must have spoken to Kevin Garnett. They probably debated about the Basketball Greatest players, about how to be a winner in this league, about the tradition of the Boston Celtics and what would take to become a legend of the NBA. And who knows? Maybe the Gods decided to create the player that would make that conversation real. While we all thought that our franchise was gifted with doom for 15 years of mediocrity, the truth is that we were given a present that was waiting to become real years later.
Physically, Rondo is the Kevin Garnett of the point guards: long arms, huge hands, tremendous athleticism, defensive prowess...there is no law of physics that Rondo hasn't broken already. They are teaching Rondo modern Maths laws in schools in all the nation. Go ask Cleveland, Orlando or Chicago. Ask Mo Williams, Kirk Hinrich, Jason Williams, Jameer Nelson or Derrick Rose. Or better, go and ask Chris Paul about Rajon Rondo. He has frustrated the whole net of play makers in the league.
What Rajon Rondo brings to the Celtics is the dream of what can't be controlled. The magical steal, the incredible assist, the amazing dunk, the most beautiful and impossible layup...and even the last second three pointers. And he does it all with incredible pride and growing leadership skills, with fearless determination. We all remember his action against Artest in the Finals to defend a teammate, he doesn't avoid a fight to prove he is right. No matter if his enemy is of his size (Hinrich) or bigger (Brad Miller).
One day, many years from now, kids will watch his vids and recreate his legend in console games as we do with Michael Jordan now. Many (as me) will continue to wonder how a player who looked limited in college would become a legend in such a little time. And that day, maybe he will meet Bird and Garnett and another Celtic greatest will be born. Bohemian 9/23/2010 05:10:00 AM Tweet