By Ashley Earle
April 25, 2012
BOSTON - Preston Jackson, an active nine-year-old who one day dreams of playing in the NBA, endured a harrowing experience exactly one week ago. Wearing his Rajon Rondo jersey, Jackson ran upstairs to his bedroom to grab something before leaving with his family for the afternoon. He never imagined that during that trip to his room, a stray bullet would pierce through his favorite jersey mere centimeters from his body.
When news of Jackson's ordeal broke, Rondo’s heart went out to him and the point guard knew that something needed to be done.
Preston Jackson and his sister met Rajon Rondo before the Celtics faced the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.Celtics Photo/Ashley Earle
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing on the news when they reported what happened to Preston,” said Rondo. “Preston was the victim of a senseless act and I didn’t want his love of basketball to be affected by what happened.”
To that end, Rondo immediately made sure that the Jackson family could attend the Celtics' next home game, which happened to be against the Miami Heat. Rondo’s objective to turn this negative incident into a memorable experience for Jackson was realized as the youngster's smile broadened the moment he met Boston's All-Star point guard prior to the game.
Jackson, his sister and parents got a behind-the-scenes tour of the arena before sitting courtside to watch pregame warmups. Rondo then came out carrying two duffle bags filled with Celtics gifts for Jackson and his sister.
"It felt really good to meet Rondo. This was the best moment of my life. I'm always going to remember this," said Preston Jackson.
Rondo wasn’t done with his surprises for Jackson, as he presented his new friend with an autographed jersey and a pair of his sneakers in the youngster's size. Rondo took pictures with the kids and signed their new No. 9 jerseys.
“It was great meeting Preston today,” said Rondo. “He’s a strong kid and I know he’s going to get through this tough time. Everyone is rooting for him.”
One thing is for sure, Jackson will never forget the night he met his hero, and how the duo will always have a close connection.