Amidst a wild free agency focused on the future of LeBron James and others, basketball fans have been scrambling to refresh twitter pages and filter out fake accounts. Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo's attention remains on his campers, as Baxter Holmes writes in the Boston Globe:
The campers file onto the main court, where a large banner of Rondo dribbling a ball in a white Celtics jersey hangs behind a basket. Later that day, the real-life version walks in and children start chanting his name.
A mob forms, swallowing Rondo. He palms a ball in his catcher's mitt-sized hands, holding it above their heads as they jump, trying to reach it. He smiles and laughs. They all do.
"I don't know who enjoys this more, myself or the kids," Rondo said.
He shakes hands with almost everyone in the building, does Q&A sessions, hops in games, and chats with campers and parents that he's known for years, since he started the camp in his hometown the summer after his 2006-2007 rookie season in Boston.
Numerous professional athletes hold sports camps, but all too often those athletes make one short appearance, only to sign autographs or take pictures.
Rondo, as usual is different.
Holmes' feel-good story represents something that fans can be proud of. Obviously, as basketball fans, we want our team to win. While we all seek the same goal, it's nice to have a guy like this represent the face of your franchise.
Lots of guys have charities and/or camps, and that's all good and well. If you have the capability of setting up one, it's a great PR move. But what's really cool is when you can see the deep-seeded genuineness behind it all, which is somewhat rare. Some guys do nice things and show up when they're supposed to--other guys show up unannounced because they love being involved and are passionate about a cause. Chalk Rondo up to the latter category:
His passion for working with youths is well known through his many charity efforts, which the NBA honored him for last December. He prefers to keep such events private, so many don't see that side of him.
But here, that passion is on full display.
"He just loves children," says Rondo's mother, Amber. "He loves being around them. It's just his nature."
"I want to be able to play with the kids," Rondo said. "I like interacting with them. You know, rough them up a little bit, play a little one-on-one."
Ever the competitor, one of Rondo's favorite activities is joining losing teams mid-scrimmage so he can help lead a comeback.
"Yeah, if I can help them in time, I'll do it," he said. "If not, well, there's only so much I can do. The little guys over here, like the 6-year-olds, they're the best to have fun with, especially because we lower the rims and I get to dunk."
Of course, it wouldn't be a Rondo camp without an homage to KG in some way or another. Camp director and Rondo's basketball coach at Eastern High School in Louisville Doug Bibby helps Rondo close the camp:
[Bibby] asked how many Celtics fans were in the crowd. Many cheered. He asked how many Rondo fans there were. Everyone cheered.
Then Bibby explained a chant that they would all learn, one patterned after Rondo's close friend Kevin Garnett. Campers were asked to beat their chest twice and then shout as loud as possible, just as the former Celtics icon always did to get hyped up.
"We call it the KG," Bibby said. Their roars echoed off the walls.
To read the Baxter Holmes' piece in its entirety (and you should), click here: Rajon Rondo's basketball camp has special feel Austin Gill 7/11/2014 03:30:00 PM Tweet Edit