By Adena Andrews and Kyle Montgomery, NBA.com
Posted Jan 31 2009 6:42PM
If you've ever watched Rajon Rondo on the court, his effortless moves make it seem as if he is gliding on air or there are wheels under his sneakers. The truth is that Rondo isn't wearing those annoying roller sneakers that are so popular with kids these days. The man is just a wizard on the hardwood.
But he does get practice for his fluid movements on another type of hardwood. The roller rink. That's right, Rondo rocks roller skates regularly (try saying that three times fast).
|NBA.com's Kyle Montgomery discovers how a world champion rolls.
When he's not chilling with the Parquet Posse or making a run for another championship, the 22-year-old champion likes to spend his time at the roller rink.
"I zone out when I'm skating and it's like I'm in my own world," said Rondo. "I probably go every Friday and Sunday when I'm back home."
Skating was always big in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. But he didn't own a pair of skates and never identified with the sport as a child. It wasn't until he joined the NBA that he started to pick up skating.
Rajon Rondo demonstrates his skating skills at one of his community service events.
Courtesy of the Boston Celtics
"These past three years, I would go home and practice with people who are real skaters and I just love getting better." Rondo said. "I fell a couple of times but I'm improving."
Now he is the self-proclaimed best skater in the NBA. Rumor is Baron Davis may have some skills in the rink; Rondo is already calling B-Diddy out.
"I'm the best at this, so if BD skates, then I'm up to the challenge," Rondo said.
Rondo is not a member of the Boston Three Party, which consists of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, but he remains an integral part. His all-around game helps penetrate defenses that focus on the trio. The lanky guard knows his role on the team, floor general, and plays it well. Rondo averages 11.2 points, five rebounds and eight assists per game. His blinding speed helps him rank fourth in steals (2.15), right behind Jason Kidd.
Rondo describes himself as an even keel player who doesn't mouth off too much on the court and lets his game speak for itself. He's not much of a club-goer, either. On a Friday night during the offseason, you are more likely to find him rocking out at the rink to Too Short's "Blow the Whistle" than at a nightclub. One of Rondo's favorite rink tricks is called trio skating, a trick unique to Louisville, when three skaters lock arms and skate around the rink in a fluid dance-like motion.
While skating is a favorite pastime of Rondo's, his hobby gives Celtics executive director and general manager Danny Ainge quite a scare.
"I had to get permission from Danny Ainge to come out here and skate," Rondo said. "He had to get referrals from plenty of people that I really could skate."
In a recent Boston Globe article, Ainge instructed Rondo not to pull any fancy tricks in the rink for fear that he might injure himself. He also said, "If you get hurt I'm not paying you."
Rondo took Ainge's comments in jest and hit the rink in full confidence. Skating comes natural to the 6-foot-1 point guard and presents him with a challenge to learn something new each time he takes to the rink.
Right now, Rondo's greatest challenge is grabbing another championship. Like everyone else on his team, he is striving to give the Celtics their first back-to-back championships since 1968. Rondo's personal goals are to make the All-Defensive Team, grab a spot on the All-Star Team and become the youngest player to win three championships.
Indeed these are lofty goals for such a young guy. But like his moves in the rink, Rondo will undoubtedly roll along with ease on his NBA journey.
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