It’s a strange time for Rajon Rondo. He’s finally returned to the court after ACL surgery last year, but he’s missing the three biggest influences on his basketball career. In the next week, he’ll face off against two of them, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, when they make their return to Boston on Jan. 26 for their first official visit back to the city and the arena where they captured the 2008 NBA Title and came within a quarter of claiming the title in 2010. But even months after the trade, KG and Pierce still share a special connection with their “little brother.”
There’s an unbreakable rapport that developed during the six years Rondo spent with The Big Ticket and Truth in Boston. They captured a title and came really close to winning a second (if Kendrick Perkins hadn’t gone down, they probably would have); they stymied LeBron James seemingly every year he was with the Cavs, and came really close to knocking James out of the playoffs even with Miami, which is why Rondo would never play for the Heat; for Pierce and KG, they watched the young Rondo grow up.
So it makes sense the bonds that kept the Celtics together through their half-decade reign as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, would persist even today.
Pierce and Garnett recently mentioned their connection with their former teammate to Tim Bontemps at the New York Post:
“I mean, I expected him to be out there anyway,” Pierce said with a smile. “I mean, I thought he would be back a lot sooner than this week. Obviously he’s just taking his time, making sure he’s 100 percent, which he should do, and I expect him to be out there anyway.”
“Absolutely,” Garnett said when asked if Rondo being on the court will make his return to Boston mean even more. “That’s a little brother, man. We all grew together. When we grew, it wasn’t something we did minimally. We all gave all of ourselves to each other, and we grew in that. That connection, you grow with it through time, and it’s one of them connections that you look at as forever.
“That’s my little brother. I love Rondo. He knows that, and I would do anything for him. All in all, I’m just happy that he’s back, and I’m just happy he’s able to be healthy and continue to be able to do one of the things he does best.”
Rondo is back, though it’s not clear for how long, and everyone is looking forward to the game later this week. That goes double for the Big Three that Pierce, Rondo and Garnett eventually became (apologies to Ray Allen).
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