After being terrible for years Boston was offering half-price tickets that offseason in designated "player" sections (the deal went away as soon as the Garnett trade happened). Included in the package was a free jersey of that player. Each section was named for lesser-known Celtics who the team was trying to promote. Our's was Gerald Green.
However, Green was one of the five guys shipped off to Minnesota for Garnett, so we were given a different jersey instead: No. 9, Rajon Rondo.
Over the course of that 2007-08 title-winning season, Rondo became my favorite player. In fact, I still vividly remember the exact moment when I knew for sure, on March 5, 2008 against the Detroit Pistons.
I'm not quite as sad by Rondo's departure as I expected to be. I think it's because the version of Rondo I became so infatuated with has been gone for some time now. While he still had his moments, Rondo hasn't been the same guy since he tore his ACL in January of 2013. The loss of Garnett and Paul Pierce that offseason clearly didn't help. Rondo's talents just haven't shined through on this current unspectacular ballclub. He's always been a player who's best performances come in the biggest games, and the recent lottery-bound editions of the C's have been very thin on big games.
Having said that, there's still a 100 percent chance I am going to cry when he comes back to town with the Mavericks in two weeks.
I wanted to do a tribute blog today with links to all the times I've raved about Rondo in the past. But then I remembered I already did that, on the day last winter when he returned from his injury. Take a look, it represents some of Rondo's best work in a Celtics uniform.
From yesterday: My pragmatic and unemotional Rajon Rondo thoughts (I'll save the emotional ones for tomorrow)
In his debut with Dallas there were clearly glimpses of the old Rondo:
Rajon Rondo highlights from his first game with the Mavs: https://t.co/DU53QGTFnc
— Mark Vandeusen (@LucidSportsFan) December 21, 2014