Growing up in Boston, it was a dream come true when American Express told me last week that I’d grace the parquet for the first time at the TD Garden. It didn’t matter whom it was against or what the stakes were–dominating on this court was on my bucket list. Through my adolescence, I witnessed multiple legendary Celtic performances on that same floor. Whether it was Pierce and Walker‘s ’02 Playoff comeback against the Nets or Garnett‘s “Anything is possible!” moment, this was my childhood.
One of the guys that I’ve watched continue to etch his name into the Celtics history books is Rajon Rondo. Whether it’s been on TV with Celtic legend Tommy Heinsohn calling the game or on Causeway Street, I’ve always noticed that Rondo’s been a bit different than the others. He has his own unique style.
In a league in which scoring point guards are becoming more and more prevalent, Rondo breaks assist records. When other All-Star point guards in their prime sign shoe deals with Nike and adidas, he inks a deal with Anta. When he wears a headband, he prefers it being upside down. Rajon Rondo may be the most interesting man in the world.
Rondo likes to keep people guessing. On the court, he’s done a great job in the month of March thus far by flirting with triple-doubles on multiple occasions, averaging over 15 points, nine assists and six rebounds, including 18 dimes in Boston’s seven-point win over Detroit on Sunday. However, the most impressive stat in March is his 41.2 percent three-point shooting.
As his game continues to grow, the Celtics captain has also developed his knowledge and identity off the court with one of his newly found endeavors: fashion.
“[My style has] done a 360,” Rondo said in our 1-on-1 interview after the Cs beat Brooklyn last Friday, 91-84. “It’s completely changed. I’m very into it now. At first, you know as a rookie, you just try to get through with the dress code. You try to wear a collared shirt and some shoes that you won’t get fined in. But now–I think I feel a certain way when I wear clothes to the game and I dress up.”
As Rondo threads the needle with no-look passes, pick-pockets his opponents and now catches fire from the perimeter, he believes his success starts by getting dressed to “go to work”.
“I feel like I can dominate those games,” he said. “I don’t know what it is. I think it just starts with me getting dressed. You know, I love the clothes–they don’t make me but you feel [ready to go by] dressing up and putting on something nice.”
The former NBA champion may understand the clothes don’t make you who you are, but he certainly believes in a strong correlation between a player’s on-the-court demeanor and their style outside of the arena.
“I think it’s an extension of who you are as a person,” he said. “Me, I’m more of a low-key guy so I don’t do too many wild colors. If you’re a guy that’s flashy or very outspoken and you like that and you like the attention when you wear clothes then so be it, you know? Wear the red pants or whatever the case may be. The style is an extension of who you are as a person. If you can’t say a word, then the way you dress should express the type of person you are.”
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So in being different, when American Express approached Rondo to pick two winners of their “Off The Court Style Challenge” he knew he wanted somebody with “their own sense of style”.
“The two winners were very different,” said Rondo. “The outfits that they sent in were very different. And I think [when I met them} it fit their style. Regardless of what you put on I think if you feel like it fits your swag, your style, then that’s what you should be comfortable with.”
Coming away impressed by their unique sense of fashion, they winners in turn recognized Rondo as one the NBA’s flyest players.
“Rondo is up there with the best,” said contest winner and Celtics fan Brandon Marrone in regards to the All-Star point guard’s pregame attire. “If not, then he’s definitely the best.”
Rondo’s go-to footwear off the court is currently “wing-tip shoes” but still, his pregame attire is as versatile as his approach at tip-off.
“I like to switch it up,” he said. “You know, obviously I didn’t want to wear another suit coming back when I started to play because when I wasn’t playing it was suits every game so I don’t think just because you wear a suit ultimately it means you can dress. I think style is mixing it up–throw on the suits, throw on the cardigans and you know, certain winter jackets especially here in Boston. I mean you get to switch it up a lot. I love winter coats. I love different jackets, different blazers, so it gives you a lot of chances to mix it up (with the weather) being so cold. You get to layer up. You know, scarfs, sweaters, etc.”
While Rondo leads the Cs in the locker room and in style, there’s another savvy veteran who also dresses to go to work.
“You know, not a lot of bigs can dress, man, and B. Bass can definitely put some looks together,” said the captain. “He’s conscious of his look every time he comes in the game. So he loves to dress up and not a lot of big guys in our league do that now-a-days but Bass definitely puts a good look together and he brings it every game.”
As Brad Stevens and company develop their young talent in Boston, the captain looks to get his group to follow suit, teaching them how a champion should look when handling business.
Which player has the best sense of style?
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