The question loses value over time. What’s the best birthday present you ever received? You can’t remember everything, and as years go on, from middle school to high school to the real world, that excitement you felt shredding the wrapping vanishes. It can’t last because if it did, it wouldn’t be saying much about you.
Maybe I can’t remember my favorite birthday present because I never made an NBA All-Star Game. Rajon Rondo has, and on this day, his 26th birthday, it was reported the NBA corrected a wrong: They made the Celtics’ floor general an All-Star. Rondo will be replacing the injured Joe Johnson on Sunday in Orlando, joining the Eastern stars for the third consecutive year.
Rondo has some recognizable faults – shooting, an attitude that can rub some the wrong way – but his highlights rival any guard in the game. For his birthday, I decided to toss y’all a list of his 10 greatest highlights. Make sure you remember this is strictly an NBA list, or else that unfathomable pass Rondo made to Kenneth Faried would’ve been No. 1…
10. Rajon Rondo Catches Jason Williams Chillin’
I guess we can throw this one on here. It’s not exactly one of my favorite moments being a card-carrying Jason Williams enthusiast. But it was still a pretty spectacular play, whether you want to call it a travel or not.
9. Rondo Puts The Fake On The Entire City Of Denver
Behind-the-back passes can be difficult. But when you’re in the air? That adds another element. For some reason, more so than any other player in the league, Rondo excels at this. Ask LeBron.
8. Chris Bosh Gets Caught Taking A S—
You could use any number of analogies for this one. Chris Bosh got caught peeping. Chris Bosh got caught on the toilet. Chris Bosh got caught being lazy. The one that fits most appropriately though is simply Chris Bosh got dunked on. Rondo had 16 dimes on this night (after going for 17 in the season opener against the Heat), but in the midst of leading a second-straight win against the evil empire, he showed us some hops we didn’t know he had.
7. Rondo Gives Steve Nash Another Injury To Worry About
When I spent a day in Phoenix with Nash earlier this season, we talked a lot about how he deals with his back pain, how it all started (in a pickup game in Dallas) and what precautions he must take every day to keep his body from breaking down. What I didn’t ask though, was how he’s played on a broken ankle the last few years. Because after watching this move – one of the most simple, but effective moves you can make – it sure looks like his ankle nearly gave out for good on him.
6. Rondo Makes Dwight Howard Hesitate, Then Blows Up His Chest With An M-16
If it wasn’t for a Game 7 three-point barrage from Hedo Turkoglu, Mickael Pietrus and the rest of the Magic, Boston might’ve gone on to the Eastern Conference Finals without their main man in the middle, Kevin Garnett. It’s a shame no one remembers this 14-game playoff run from Rondo, because he put together one of the better all-around playoff performances of the modern NBA: averages of 16.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 9.8 assists. Dwight Howard was lucky he got out of here alive.
5. The French Connection Can’t Keep Up With The English On This Pass
Ronny Turiaf looked confused on this one. The former Laker was faked out twice, and then got dunked on. It’s amazing Turiaf even went for the shot because Rondo made only one all night in the Game 2 Celtic win. He did have 16 dimes. Remember when everyone said they wouldn’t win a damn thing with some skinny, second-year player who couldn’t shoot as their starting point?
4. Rondo Turns Andrew Bynum Into Superman
Check out Bynum on that move. Dude went superman on us, arms outstretched and everything. He’s not the first – nor the last – to get this treatment from Rondo. Extra points being that this was in the Finals in a must-win game for the Celtics. The Lakers dominated inside but couldn’t control Boston’s tiny point guard in the closing minutes as he went for a triple-double with 19 points, 12 boards and 10 dimes.
3. LeBron James Witnesses His Own Embarrassment
I’ll never quite understand what happened with this series. There are rumors, and then there are facts, and it doesn’t seem right to twist the two. But I find it hard to believe the Celtics just reached into the electrical room and flipped the “kick ass” switch. Cleveland was in control through three games. Even in the third game, the Cavs came into Boston, held them at gunpoint and went about stealing every valuable they had. Except for one thing.
If we’re talking greatest playoff game performances ever, this game – Game 4, 2010 Eastern Conference Semis – was the one for Rondo. 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists in the game that turned it around. Yeah… he sucks.
2. Kevin Garnett Gives Rondo Headache Treatment
What’s the first thing you look for after banging heads with someone/something? I doubt you want a seven foot psycho yelling obscenities in your face for 20 straight seconds. But KG just couldn’t help himself. The dunk was THAT good.
1. Rondo Passes Glory Onto Jesus
When I put together a list this summer of the greatest assists ever in the NBA, this one made it. Just a completely stupid, insane, ridiculous pass that defies logic. This was a true no-look dime, over-the-shoulder, from under the hoop to outside the arc, and within traffic.
This play happened during another Boston win during December of 2010, and it actually went down during one of Rondo’s worst games of that season. He scored just a 7.9 game score (a measurement of your total output) after routinely hitting the mid-teens. You also might remember the start of this season for Rondo breaking the record for most assists (82) through the season’s first five games.
Did I get it right?
Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.