10 Years Later, Rondo Reminisces About ’08 Title

BOSTON – Rajon Rondo reminisces about the Boston Celtics’ 2008 championship season whenever he steps foot inside TD Garden. The arena brings back fond memories from his sophomore campaign, which he spent as the floor general of an unstoppable squad chock-full of future hall-of-famers.

Ten years have passed since that unforgettable season, and much has changed for the four-time All-Star point guard. He’s been on five different teams over the last four seasons, and is now in the midst of his 12th NBA season as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, who are set to face the C’s Tuesday night in Boston.

Rondo is embracing his role as a veteran leader for the up-and-coming Pelicans, but he yearns for another experience like the one he had with the Celtics a decade ago.

“I’m still looking for another one,” Rondo said Tuesday morning, in reference to his quest for a second ring. “It’s been a long time. Having rookies on the team now, I have a 19-year-old rookie (Frank Jackson) on the team now and he was in [elementary] school (when the Celtics won the ‘08 title). So it’s kind of funny because I’m in a situation like [Kevin Garnett] was when I came in. It’s just kind of different now.”

Rondo is trying his best to emulate KG’s leadership in New Orleans, and his teammates say he’s doing an admirable job.

“He’s always a leader on the floor, coaching us, making sure that we’re in the right spots,” said 24-year-old forward Anthony Davis, who is averaging 26.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game for the 22-20 Pelicans. “It’s good to have him. He’s done some great things for us, and he’s helping me out a ton.”

Rondo is surrounded with talent in New Orleans, with Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Jrue Holliday providing a combined average of more than 70 points per game. With that being said, the 31-year-old veteran knows that it’s extremely difficult to reproduce the type of camaraderie that made the ’08 championship run possible.

“The chemistry that team had, the four or five years that we had together, it was a brotherhood with that group of guys,” said Rondo, who is averaging 7.4 points, 7.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. “It’s something that you can’t take for granted because I pretty much haven’t had it since I left.”

What made the ’08 Celtics special, according to Rondo, was “the sacrifice” that each member of the team was willing to make in order to win. It was “the willingness to want the best for the next man beside you” that allowed that team to reach its ultimate goal.

There’s no denying that New Orleans has championship-caliber talent on its roster, but it still needs championship-caliber camaraderie to have a chance at title contention.

Rondo was fortunate enough to be a part of an iconic Celtics team that met both criteria, which allowed him to experience the most cherished season of his life. He’s reminded of the ’08 title run every time he steps inside TD Garden, and tonight will be no different when he takes on his former team inside the arena where it all unfolded 10 years ago.