Rajon Rondo, the Celtics’ starting point guard who was voted in as a starter to this year’s All-Star Game, suffered a torn ACL on Jan. 27 and has since watched his team play its best basketball of the year.  In this week’s SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, senior writer Lee Jenkins (@SI_LeeJenkins) takes a look at Boston’s floor general both on and off the court, and how the Celtics stellar play with Rondo injured will inspire him to work even harder to come back stronger.

Prior to being lost for the season, Rondo was averaging 13.7 points and a league high 11.1 assists per game. Jenkins finds that Rondo’s ability to think a few steps ahead on the court is due large in part to the fact that grew up playing Connect Four on his front porch with anyone who dared to challenge him. Back then and now, Rondo is the first to let his opponents know how well he is doing. Jenkins writes:

“Opposing point guards, weary of Rondo’s jawing and jostling, wonder if he is picking a fight with them or simply doesn’t like them.” (PAGE 58)

Rondo admits:  “I’m not a great people person…I’m not trying to make friends on the court…we can talk in the summer.” (PAGE 58)

Yet, Rondo is a hit with kids in his community. For the past six years, Rondo spends time with children at the Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club in Dorchester, Mass.  What do they do when he is there? Play Connect Four.

On the court, Rondo has racked up assist averages over the past two seasons not seen since Magic Johnson and John Stockton, as well as recording the most triple-doubles as the rest of the Eastern Conference combined.

 “Everybody wants to score, score, score, score…So I want to pass. I like to be different. I could never be a follower.” Says Rondo (PAGE 60).

Rondo is always thinking three moves ahead and one would think he’ll take the same approach to his ACL rehab. Says Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics General Manager: “He’s the smartest guy in the room.” (PAGE 63)


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