Boston is familiar to Rajon Rondo, but playing there Friday night won’t quite be the same. He won’t be rocking the same green and white uniform he’s worn since he was traded to the Celtics in 2006 shortly after being drafted by the Phoenix Suns. This time, he’ll be the opponent from Dallas wearing blue and white. Rondo admitted that the return will be somewhat emotional, but sought advice from former Celtics teammate Paul Pierce, who told him to “keep blinking when I look up so I don’t cry.”
Rondo was traded to the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 18 after rumors of him being traded have been swirling around for years. This time, the trade was official and completed with Rondo playing in his first game as a Mav just a few days later. Now, with six games under his belt on his new team and not even a month away from Boston, he’s back. Rondo will be greeted by former teammates, some of which he calls his friends. Jeff Green, for one, considers the point guard a good friend and said it will be “weird to see him in a different colored uniform.” He can also look forward to a video tribute and a warm welcome from fans, which will make it a little more difficult for him to keep his composure.
Though it wasn’t his choice, leaving Boston for Dallas is a better move for Rondo’s career and certainly increases his chances of adding to the lone championship he won as a Celtic in 2008. The Mavs have a more complete team to which he adds, as opposed to a young and rebuilding Celtic team, which includes a young Brad Stevens coach in his second year of coaching in the NBA.
As far as the game this evening, I see the Mavericks getting the road win, which will probably be bittersweet for Rondo. The win will be good for him and his new team, but in the back of his mind, Rondo can’t help but to forget about the Celtics team that made him the player he is today.