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American basketball player Rajon Rondo is an all-star point guard who led the Boston Celtics to the NBA championship in 2008.
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Rajon Rondo was born on February 22, 1986, in Louisville, Kentucky. Despite occasionally antagonizing his coaches, Rondo proved an intelligent and gifted basketball player in high school and college. He led the Boston Celtics to the NBA championship in 2008, and cemented his place among the game's best point guards in ensuing seasons.
"Everybody wants to score, score, score, so I want to pass. I like to be different. I could never be a follower."
Rajon Pierre Rondo was born on February 22, 1986, in Louisville, Kentucky, to William Sr. and Amber Rondo. William Sr. left the family when Rondo was 7, but Amber kept her four children in line despite working a grueling graveyard shift at the local Philip Morris factory.
Although Rondo initially preferred football and baseball, he turned his attention to basketball at Eastern High School. Setting a tone that would be repeated in his ascent to the game's highest level, the headstrong Rondo clashed with Coach Doug Bibby before the two developed a mutual trust. He averaged more than 27 points and seven assists per game as a junior, and led Eastern High to the championship of the Louisville Invitational Tournament.
Rondo transferred to Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, where he set school records for assists and led the basketball team to a 38-0 record. Named a 2004 McDonald's All-American, he enrolled at the University of Kentucky.
Rajon Rondo set a school record with 87 steals in his first season and was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team, but it soon became apparent he was an uneven fit for that Kentucky team. Head coach Tubby Smith preferred a deliberate, disciplined half-court offense, and Rondo occasionally ignored his instructions in an attempt to speed up the game. He announced his intention to turn pro at the end of his sophomore year.
An exceptionally quick 6'1" playmaker with unusually long arms and big hands, Rondo was considered an intriguing talent. However, he was also a poor shooter, and there were questions about his leadership skills. Rondo was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the No. 21 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft and was immediately traded to the Boston Celtics.
Rondo began his NBA career as the Celtics' third-string point guard. In a familiar refrain, head coach Doc Rivers was initially put off by Rondo's stubbornness, but he soon grew to appreciate the rookie's basketball IQ and competitive nature. Rondo was given the chance to start regularly in the season's second half, and played well enough to make the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
Prior to the 2007-08 season, Boston acquired veteran stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to team up with high-scoring swingman Paul Pierce. Many believed the team's lofty goals would be sabotaged by the inconsistent play of its young point guard, but Rondo proved up to the task with his ability to get to the basket and deliver passes to the "Big Three" of Garnett, Allen and Pierce. Rondo helped the Celtics win a league-best 66 games and beat the rival Los Angeles Lakers in six games to win the NBA championship.
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