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Celtics great Robert Parish understands what it’s like to be Rajon Rondo

Aug 8, 2013, 12:01 AM EDT

robert parish Bulls Getty Images

Rajon Rondo is a legitimate All-Star point guard, and the only elite level talent left on a Celtics roster that will be undergoing a full-fledged rebuild beginning next season.

There are questions as to whether or not Boston will (or should) retain Rondo during this transition, because at some point, you need special players to return your team to championship contention. But Rondo’s perceived personality may not be fit to lead a younger group to the promised land, so the trade offers will continue to roll in until Rondo is cemented as the future face of the franchise.

The personality issue is an important one, because it may ultimately punch Rondo’s ticket out of town. But Robert Parish, a former Celtic who made his way to the Hall of Fame, understands what it may be like to be Rondo, in that his outward appearance may not be telling the story of just what he’s feling inside.

From Sean Deveney of Sporting News (via CelticsBlog):

“Just going by what I have heard, I have heard he has a talent for being difficult,” Parish said [of Rondo].”But you can say that about most of us. I know I had my moments. For me, if I don’t know you, I come across as being aloof and distant if I don’t know you. I am just quiet if I don’t know you. I can be very stoic looking, that’s just my facial expression. I don’t smile a lot. I come across as being arrogant and dismissive, even if that is not the case. I know what it is to be misunderstood. I can’t say for sure that’s the case with Rondo, but I can understand it if it is.”

Parish was aware of his social shortcomings, but Rondo’s seem to be more embedded in the person he truly is trying to be.

There’s no doubting Rondo’s ability to lead on the court, but being the veteran leader off of it takes a bit more finesse. In Parish’s day, the Celtics were led by Larry Bird and Kevin McHale in the locker room, and in Rondo’s early tenure, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were there to similarly lead the charge.

It’s unclear at this point if Rondo is up to that task all by himself, but at the very least, he has the support of a former Celtic great who understands the quirks of his personality.

  1. apkyletexas - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    @Brett – “But Rondo’s perceived personality may not be fit to lead a younger group to the promised land”

    How could anyone really know? He had a coach who never trusted him, and teammates like Ray Allen who openly hated him and rebelled against his attempts at leadership.

    Maybe now that he’s not under such extreme and ridiculous pressures from within his own team, maybe now he can just play ball and enjoy the game. Maybe he’ll be a lot more likeable, and a lot more of a leader.

  2. kb2408 - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:30 AM

    If Rondo wants to remain in Boston, they should build the team around him. He’s a proven winner and a guy that competes every play, every game. I love his mean streak and and the fact that he plays with a chip on his shoulder. The only way you let a player like that get away is if he’s a malcontent, doesn’t want to be there or you have his backup on the roster already and he’s ready to start.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:24 AM

      You know what kb, I hate the C’s. You know what else? Rondo is a special talent, word up. This guy is one of the absolute best playoff performers I have ever seen in my life. It pains me to admit this but I have to be objective/real about it.

      You know who else has that “special” kind of personality? Our dude Kobe. Really, I’m not going to even try to compare the two and draw this convo out, but for real I’d take Rondo over any other PG in the league. Even over CP3 (It’s soooo dang close though, for me) and a healthy Rose.

      I really want to say waaay more, but I usually get blocked when I type out too many characters, plus I’m tired and bout to call it a night. But BOS, if they were wise, wouldn’t even entertain the thought of shipping Rondo out. Buuut it’s BOS. Expect him gone by the all-star break.

    • jcmeyer10 - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:43 PM

      I love Playoff/National TV Rondo but not Mail It In When Nobody but Fans are Watching Rondo.

      I would build a team around Rondo because when it’s Spotlight Game Rondo, then he’s one of the best.

  3. tannethrill - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    Only read the headline…because they’re both ugly?

    • kb2408 - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:20 AM

      Yeah…and I bet you’re a deadringer for Brad Pitt yourself.

      • saintlaron - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:16 AM

        Jason Collins is that you?

  4. BurkieInBoston - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:15 AM

    Interesting too that both Parish & Rondo were the last superstars remaining with the Celts from their respective “Big 3” eras.

    • melo5812 - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      Well big difference is parish was a member of the big 3 rondo wasn’t

      • BurkieInBoston - Aug 14, 2013 at 8:06 AM

        True that. I was simply referring to the two eras of success (not the actual Big 3) and the last remaining superstar from each one. My bad.

  5. sportsfan18 - Aug 8, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    The author calls Rondo the only “elite” level talent on the Celtics.

    Let’s see, career stats here: PER, True Shooting %, Effective FG%, Turnovers, Assists, 3pt %, Free throw %


    PER 17.2, TS% .514%, Effective FG% .489%, 3.0 TO’s per 36 mins’s of play, 9.1 assists per 36 min’s of play, .241% 3 pt percentage, .621 free throw percentage.

    FYI a PER of 15 is league average. A PER of 20 is borderline all star. Rondo’s never had a season where his PER has been at or above 20.


    PER 25.5 PER (6th HIGHEST of ALL TIME in NBA history), .575% true shooting percentage, .508% effective FG%, 2.4 turnovers per 36 min’s, 9.7 assists per 36 mins, .356% 3 pt %, .858% free throw %


    PER 20.0 PER, .605% true shooting percentage (13th HIGHEST ALL TIME in NBA history), .557% effective FG%, 3.3 turnovers per 36 min’s, 9.8 assists per 36 min’s, .428% 3 pt % (way above Ray Allens at .401%), .904% free throw %


    PER 19.9 (last 2 sesons well above 20), .534% true shooting %, .486% effective FG%, 2.9 turnovers per 36 mins, 6.7 assists per 36 mins, .310% 3 pt %, .815% free throw %

    Let’s speed this up. Deron Williams career stats and percentages are better than Rondo’s too.

    Kyrie Irving has only played one season but her PER was 21.4, his FG%, 3 pt%, free throw %, true shooting % and effective FG% are all much higher than Rondo’s too and Kyrie scored more than 10 additional pts per 36 mins of court time than Rondo, yes Rondo’s had KG, Allen and Pierce and that is why he has more assists than Kyrie or D. Rose, but the same or less than Paul, Nash and others while those out score and out shoot him too.

    And I havent’ mentioned Stephen Curry, Tony Parker, Russel Westbrook yet as all their stats exceed Rondo’s too…

    So, out of 30 NBA teams, he’s already in about 7th or 8th place (yes Nash is old and on his way out and ALL of us would take Rondo now for his future than Nash but Rondo still won’t come anywhere near Nash shooting wise).

    I mean Rondo’s career Free throw % is only .621% and he is a PG. Everyone knows Dwight Howard can’t hit free throws and his career percentage is .577% Nash over 90%, Paul over 85%, D Rose at almost 82%, D Williams 82%.

    Elite doesn’t mean the bottom of the top third of the PG’s in the league Mr. Author of this article…

    Elite is the top 2 or 3 PG’s in the game or maybe top 4 but no more than 5.

  6. saint1997 - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    Very true – the media often disregard players as bad personalities if they aren’t particularly outgoing

    • spursareold - Aug 8, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      This isn’t a media thing. Rondo’s former teammates (and former coach) weren’t that fond of him.

  7. turdfurgerson68 - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    Well, when you smoke the amount of reefer that Mr. Parish does, I imagine he could feel like Rondo.

    • melo5812 - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      Yea that’s why they called him the chief lol

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      The respect you show by calling him Mr. Parrish is in stark contrast to your use of “reefer”. Hope you aren’t one of those uptight losers who believe the film Reefer Madness was true.

      • hickoryhigh - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        Dude, his name is “Turd Furgerson” and you wonder if he’s uptight. I suggest you watch some more 90’s SNL when you’re baked, you might learn something.

      • turdfurgerson68 - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:17 PM

        You’re a complete and total moron, jimeejohnson.

        Excuse me for using the exact term Mr. Parrish used after he got popped for receiving his grass via the mail.

        Uptight, me? Hardly. I fired up a blunt and harkened back to the glory days of the 1980s Celtics.

  8. jmoney34 - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    The celtics would be silly to trade rondo. He is top level point guard who is underpaid. What more do you want?

    • metalhead65 - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      nobody making the kind of money he does is under paid. I don’t care that other players make more, he is worth more than some third world countries. you can pretty much anything else about him or other athletes but never say those words when talking about their salaries.

      • jimeejohnson - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        “never say those words when talking about their salaries”…

        This is how a useful pawn for the rich thinks.

      • metalhead65 - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:55 PM

        no this is how a average working man thinks. I am all for getting as much as you can but when you get it shut up about and enjoy it. I am sick of hearing about how under paid somebody is simply because another guy got more in his contract. you act like the owners are not suppose to make any money when if not for them the athletes would not be making the money they are.

    • melo5812 - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      Well relatively cheap superstar point guards fetch far more in trade than overpaid ones that can’t play he’s their best trade chip to start over and for the right price I’d pull the trigger I wouldn’t give him away and I’d be sad to see him go but if they can bolster the roster and get better I say do it.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      Really check into his stats as compared to Chris Paul, Derek Rose, Deron Williams, Kyrie Irving (know he’s only played one season), Tony Parker, Russel Westbrook.

      Please pay careful attention to Rondo’s shooting percentages, overall, 2pt, 3pt, especially his free throw shooting, his true shooting percentage, his effective FG%, his turnovers and compare them to the players above.

      Rondo is very good. I know you said top level as opposed to elite but he isn’t elite and depending on how one defines top level, that is debatable…

      • jmoney34 - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        Cant shoot, true but hes the best passer in the game and a great on ball and help side defender. I would take him over d will right now

  9. chicagofan - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Jeff Green is also “elite level talent” and will make the Celtics far better than you pundits are predicting. Rondo will not be alone and is better off without Pierce taking the last shot and missing with his fade away jumpers.

    • jcmeyer10 - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:44 PM

      Thank you. People sleeping on Greenie. That kid could score the quietest 30 points I have ever seen.

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