‘08 Champion Rajon Rondo announces retirement

On Monday Rajon Rondo revealed that he is officially retiring from the NBA on the All the Smoke Productions show. The 4x All-Star and 2x NBA Champion was one of the most exciting playmakers in the NBA during his 16-year career.

Rondo was drafted 21st overall in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns out of the University of Kentucky before being traded on the same day to the Boston Celtics. In his rookie season, playing predominantly as a backup to Sebastian Telfair, Rondo averaged 6.4 points and 3.8 assists and was known for his defensive instincts. Rondo would be named to the All-Rookies second team.

It was the next year when Rondo really burst out after the Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to pair with Paul Pierce to form the Big Three in Boston. In the deals to bring KG and Allen to Boston, the Celtics parted ways with Delonte West and Telfair opening a starting spot for Rondo.

With a star-studded roster, Rondo led the offense with his playmaking ability while also being a pest on defense leading the team in steals and assists. Rondo was a highlight machine with his no-look passes, the fake behind-the-back pass, and the creative finishes around the rim.

In the 2008 Finals, Rondo averaged 9.3 points, 6.7 assists, and 3.8 to help bring Banner 17 to Boston.

In his remaining time in green and white, Rondo continued to be one of the best passers in the NBA. Rondo went 37 straight games with 10+ assists per game, which ended against the Brooklyn Nets when Kris Humphries and Rondo got into a fight after a foul.

The Celtics traded Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2014-15 season, where he played out the remainder of a five-year, $55 million contract he’d signed in 2010.

The veteran guard became an NBA journeyman, spending the next seven years with eight teams. For much of that period, he remained a valuable, productive leader on the floor. But he struggled both in the arena and outside it.

In 2015, playing on a one-year deal with the Sacramento Kings, Rondo was suspended one game by the NBA after calling NBA referee Bill Kennedy a homophobic slur according to a MassLive report. After this encounter, Kennedy came out revealing he was gay.

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Five

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Rondo moved on to join the Chicago Bulls for the 2016-17 season alongside Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, a trio the point guard self-styled as “the three alphas”. The Bulls waived Rondo at the end of June 2017, shortly after trading away Butler.

The New Orleans Pelicans were next, another productive, if brief, stop.

Eventually, Rondo signed with the Los Angeles Lakers and was an integral part of LA’s title run in the 2019-2020 season that finished in the Orlando bubble.

Over the course of the next two seasons, the two-time champ logged games with the Atlanta Hawks, the Los Angeles Clippers, returned to the Lakers, and landed with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Although his ability on the court couldn’t be questioned, off the court Rondo had his fair share of issues with the law.

In May of 2022, according to an ESPN article, a woman filed for an “emergency protective order” against Rondo in Louisville, Kentucky. The woman alleged that the guard threatened her with a gun.

The woman alleges that Rondo said to her “you’re dead” before leaving the house, only to return shortly thereafter, this time with a gun and demanding to see one of the children. The woman said she grew scared of the situation, so she brought the child downstairs, and Rondo pulled the child outside, allegedly while still holding the gun, while he yelled at him. He then demanded to see the other child, too, and she also came outside, as Rondo yelled at both of them for being afraid of him, the woman alleged.

The order was granted and Rondo had to stay at least “at least 500 feet away from the woman and the children, and must temporarily surrender any firearms to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.”

ESPN then reported in June that the protective order was dismissed after the parties reached an agreement.

The legal issues didn’t stop there for Rondo. Earlier this year, the former Wildcat was arrested on gun and marijuana charges in Indiana. Rondo was stopped for a traffic violation where a police officer “smelled marijuana” which led to a search of the car where they found a gun that was unlawfully possessed.

Although paramount in his efforts to bring Boston and LA a championship, Rondo is not one without his faults. A 16-year career filled with highlights and fond memories for fans is hindered by incidents both on and off the court.

Rondo will be remembered in Boston as a stubborn guard who at his peak was one of the best guards in the league. Aside from the off court issues, number 9 will always be celebrated when fans think back about the ‘08 season.

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