Rajon Rondo sat down with what was then the Big Three in Boston a year ago and he says the team’s veteran leaders essentially handed him the keys to be the team’s leader going forward. It seems a bit strange to think about given that Rondo’s always been the youngster of that group, but he’s 26 now and says he’s been all for adding to his role as the years go by. Rondo and the Celtics rebounded from 0-2 start to win their last two games and host Philadelphia tonight.
Rajon Rondo joined WEEI in Boston with Mut and Merloni to discuss the Boston Celtics being a work in progress, adding to his leadership role, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce giving him the keys to do that, spearheading offseason workouts, his disdain for opposing teams and potential footraces against Usain Bolt and LeBron James.
Your coach said your team is still a work in progress at 2-2 through four games. Do you agree?:
“Definitely. We have a long way to go, but we’ve got a winning streak going right now. Hopefully we continue it and get better each day. We’re out here at practice right now trying to get better.”
People talk about this being your team now. What was the progression like to get to this point and is that just the natural role a point guard has to take?:
“For me, it’s just a natural progression. I think each year my role has gotten bigger since we won the championship. A lot of people are saying this is my team this year, I’m the leader this year. But, honestly, the past couple years, I think I’ve been the leader. I’m just trying to let my leadership expand each year. This year, I guess it’s at an all-time high, but I just want to go out there and continue to play hard for my teammates.”
How much of that is veteran stars like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce believing you’re ready for that?:
“Obviously I was 20, 21 when they first got here. I’m 26 now, this is my seventh year in the league. Actually, last year, The Big Three and I had a meeting to start the season in Doc’s office. They told me they gave me the keys last year.”
Why was it so important for you to spearhead the offseason workouts to bring this team together?:
“We have so many different guys on this team now. There’s only three guys on the team that have won a championship. We have 12 guys that are brand new to the system. I think in order for us to get an early start, it’s to get in early and get the work done. I wanted to get the chemistry early with J-Terry, Courtney Lee. … I think it was key for our team. A lot of teams have been together for a couple years now, but this team is completely different from last year.”
Do you feel a hatred toward rivals like the Miami Heat and L.A. Lakers?:
“Hate’s a strong word, but I agree with [Jason Terry]. We don’t like anyone. It’s our job to go out there and win, and we’re not trying to be friends with anybody. I think K.G. shows it best. He plays with a lot of intensity and he has no friends out there on the court. That’s our mentality, and that should be everyone’s mentality. … It’s just a matter of just competing. We love to win. I’m very competitive, and anything we do, I want to win. I don’t have time for friends.”
Were you joking or do you really believe you could beat Usain Bolt in a race?:
“I wouldn’t back down. It just depends on the distance. He might get me in the 100; I might get him in the 40, though. … I’d definitely get him [if we have to dribble].”