Sometimes adversity strikes at the wrong possible time. One week you could be dropping triple-doubles for basically four consecutive games feeling like you’ve finally mastered that part of your unique craft. Then on the final day of that same week, you found out that your tore your ACL (but continued to play for two overtimes) and had to miss the rest of the season and essentially a calendar year. Frank Sinatra sang about it a while ago, and he was spot on. But Rajon Rondo doesn’t prefer to be compared to Sinatra. Instead he felt like he was He-Man, but now feels humbled… yet still cocky (that’s basically the epitome of a Rondo quote).
“I felt like I was He-Man,” Rondo said following practice on Saturday, one year to the day of his injury. “I took longer than I wanted to, but I wanted to do the right thing. I’m not trying to rush to get back to do a contract or trying to rush to prove anything. You only get one opportunity for a shot at this so I don’t want to rush back to mess up something else that could go wrong.”
“I wanted to play against the Heat that day. I wanted to play, period,” Rondo said. “I thought I was in a good rhythm. I think I had two triple-doubles the two games prior, so I felt like I was in a good groove. I felt like I almost mastered a triple-double at that time. I knew how to get them and still win games. Even though we lost that Atlanta game, I played through an ACL injury and I took a lot of credit for that game, but I didn’t know I had a torn ACL.”
“You appreciate life more. You appreciate the game more,” Rondo said. “You don’t take the game for granted every day that you wake up and get to play this game and step on the court. It’s a blessing. It’s not guaranteed. Any moment, any play, any time in the game, your life could change. So every game that I do get to play, I’m very blessed and fortunate.”
The essence of He-Man still lives within Rondo. While he prefers not to use the moniker, the tenacious qualities are still brewing inside him, waiting to be unleashed.
“It’s still the same. I can do anything I want to, anything I can put my mind to,” he said. “I’m just a little more humble. It was a humbling experience. That’s what I got from it the most part, I’m more humble. I’m still cocky but I’ve been more humble.”
ESPN Boston – Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo has new perspective
Jessica Camerato’s piece is a must read, especially since we rarely read/see such candid comments from Rondo. You see the quotes all the time of how you respond to adversity is a true test of your leadership. Or something like that. People post similar tweets/instagram quotes about how anyone can lead when times are tough, but it’s how you respond when you get knocked down shows your true self. Again, it goes something like that. The point is that we all discover things about ourselves through adversity; positively or negatively.
While the “mastered the triple-double” comment can understandably strike some fans as a bad thing (h/t to Twitter follower Scott S @BostonsportZ ), it hasn’t exactly hurt them overall team in the past. For his career, Rondo has 28 triple-doubles and the Celtics record is 23-5. Of those 28, 10 of them have come during the playoffs and the C’s record in those games was 8-2. Sure, the statement can come off as evidence of Rondo being a stat-chaser, but the accomplishment itself inherently displays that you’ve contributed in all areas of the game. People can take issue with that and that’s fine, you have that right. But the facts are there, and the fact is, the team has won far more often when he gets them than not.
As his teammates point out in the post (as well as Mike Gorman has), since his injury, Captain Rondo has done a 180 in terms of his attitude and approach to the game as well as to life. We all got the proper finality and closure on Sunday night that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are gone. None more than anyone else, did Rondo though and he realizes this. Time will tell if he completes the transformation but it’s clear that since the adversity of his devastating injury, he’s well on his way.