Welcome Back, Rajon Rondo

Tonight, Rajon Rondo comes home, so let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Danny Ainge wanted Rondo back at the 2006 draft despite already having acquired Sebastian Telfair (wow, the Celtics were bad), and he got his man:

Also, the Knicks drafted Renaldo Balkman one pick before Rondo.  HAHAHA. Knicks.

Rondo showed promise in his rookie season, but it was so hard to focus on any bright spots in a season in which the Celtics lost 18 straight — other than the eventual bright spot of Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, right?

Wrong.  The Celtics get the 5th pick, but then Danny somehow turns that and every young player on the team other than Rondo and Kendrick Perkins into Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.  Now, Rondo and Perk are the young, questionable bookends in the starting lineup around Allen, Paul Pierce, and KG.

Then, 2008.  What a season, and Rondo was a huge part of it.  His Game 1 and Game 6 vs. the Lakers was especially awesome.  Here’s his Game 1:

The next year, with KG out to a season ending injury, Rondo and Derrick Rose, a rookie who was a no. 1 pick the summer before, went at each other’s throats in one of the great bouts of all time:

In 2010, Rondo started pushing for the title of best player on the team, taking a huge step up.  In the conference finals vs. the Magic, Rondo simply was the best player on a court that included not only the Big 3 but also Dwight Howard.

The team’s run in 2011 wasn’t exactly great, but in 2012, Rondo almost brought the Grit and Balls team to the Finals when they had no right even pretending to play alongside LeBron and the Heat.  LeBron finally put an end to their dreams, and the Celtics ran out of gas, but Rondo and that team will forever have a soft spot in our hearts. Here’s his amazing Game 2 vs. the Heat, which the refs took from the Celtics:

In 2013, Rondo tore his ACL and hadn’t been the same in a Celtics uniform.  That’s part of why it was time to go, but Rajon Rondo will forever be a Celtic, as his standing ovation tonight will demonstrate.  For the hell of it, let’s throw it back to the KG and Pierce tributes a year ago when the Nets visited Boston:

Welcome back, Rondo.

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