Rondo played a supporting role before he established himself as the starting point guard for the Celtics during the 2007–08 season. That season, Rondo earned his first NBA championship, playing alongside All-Stars Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. His breakout performance came during the 2009 NBA Playoffs, where he nearly averaged a triple-double, and helped his team take the eventual Eastern-conference champion Orlando Magic seven games in the Eastern semi-finals. He is a four-time All-Star, one-time All-NBA team selection and a four-time All-Defensive member. He also led the NBA in steals during the 2009–10 season and assists during the 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons. He ranks sixth in Celtics history in assists and third in steals.[
Rondo was born on February 22, 1986 in Louisville, Kentucky to Amber Rondo. He has three siblings: Dymon, William and Anton. He had little contact with his father, who left his family when he was seven years old. To support the family, his mother worked the third shift at Philip Morris USA, a tobacco company. Rondo was first interested in football, before his mother steered him towards basketball because she felt that the sport would be less punishing on his skinny frame. After Rondo became serious about basketball, he attended Louisville's Eastern High School for three years. During his junior year at Eastern High School, he averaged 27.9 points, 10.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists which earned him a spot on the All-State honors and was named the 7th Region Player of the Year. He transferred to Virginia's Oak Hill Academy for his senior year where he averaged 21.0 points per game (ppg), 3.0 rebounds per game (rpg) and 12.0 assists per game (apg) and finished the 2003–04 season with a 38–0 record. In his senior year at Oak Hill Academy, Rondo broke Jeff McInnis's single-season school record of 303 assists, while averaging a double-double. There, he included two efforts of 27 assists and a single-game school record of 31, merely four away from the all-time national record. He also had a 55 point game in high-school, second highest all-time in Oak Hill Academy, surpassed only by Calvin Duncan with 61. Rondo was named to the McDonald's All-American Team in 2004 and scored a total of 14 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds in the all-star game. He also participated in the 2004 Jordan Capital Classic game, logging 12 points, 5 assists and 4 steals. He ended his career as Oak Hill Academy's all-time assists leader in a single season with 494 assists, surpassing McInnis.
Rondo committed to University of Kentucky over hometown University of Louisville. Rondo, along with All-Americans Joe Crawford and Randolph Morris, gave coach Tubby Smith and Kentucky the top-rated recruiting class for 2004 according to Rivals.com. Rondo led Kentucky to several wins including clutch-shot victories against the University of Louisville, South Carolina and Central Florida, but Kentucky failed to advance to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in either Rondo's freshman or sophomore seasons. He was named to the SEC All-Freshmen Team. He set a Kentucky Wildcats record for most steals in single-season, with a total of 87 steals in his freshman year and made at least one steal in every game. He finished his freshman year at Kentucky averaging 8.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.6 steals.
In his sophomore year he had a career high 12 assists against Ole Miss, despite playing just 23 minutes, and 25 points against Louisville. Rondo also set another Kentucky Wildcats record for most rebounds in a game by a guard, with 19 rebounds in an early season loss to Iowa. He was not known for being a shooter, however, going 18–66 from three with a 57.1% FT average. He averaged 11.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.1 steals per game in his sophomore year. Rondo was also named to the 2005 USA Men's Under-21 World Championship Team, which traveled to Argentina for the FIBA World Championships. He averaged 11.0 ppg and 4.5 apg in the eight-game tournament, garnering much attention from NBA scouts. The USA U-21 team won a gold medal at the Global Games held in Texas in late July.
2006 NBA Draft
Following the 2005–06 NCAA season, Rondo announced he would forgo his final two seasons at Kentucky and enter the NBA draft. Rondo was drafted 21st overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 NBA Draft. Phoenix then traded him to the Boston Celtics along with Brian Grant for the Cleveland Cavaliers' first-round draft pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and cash considerations. He was the first point guard to be chosen in the draft. In another draft-day deal, the Celtics acquired Sebastian Telfair from the Portland Trail Blazers, finally uniting the backcourt Rick Pitino had envisioned at Louisville. He was signed by the Boston Celtics on July 4, 2006.
During his rookie season in the NBA, Rondo played a supporting role and would split time with Sebastian Telfair and Delonte West. Rondo only started in 25 games that season due to his initial backup role to Telfair. He made his NBA regular season debut on November 1, 2006, in a home loss against the New Orleans Hornets. In his rookie season, he lacked on his jump shot which resulted in him slashing to the basket for a teardrop or layup. While coming off the bench, he managed to score a career-high 23 points against the Toronto Raptors, and record his first career double-double in a road losing effort against the Washington Wizards. In his first career start, he matched his career-high against the Los Angeles Clippers, though the line-ups were constantly being shuffled between Telfair and Rondo at the point guard. After officially becoming a starter, he began to receive more playing time (career-high forty-seven minutes of playing time) and show improvement (career-high fourteen rebounds against the San Antonio Spurs, and a career-high seven steals against the Indiana Pacers). As the mid-season approached, his numbers began to increase, which earned him an All-Rookie Second Team selection. He finished the season with an average of 6.4 ppg and 3.8 apg, ranking in the top ten in the NBA in steals (128) and also ranking in the top ten among rookies in several other categories, including first in steals, second in assists and sixth in minutes. In the end, however, the Celtics finished the season with a 24–58 win-loss record and failed to qualify for the playoffs.
After Telfair and West were traded during the offseason of the 2007–08 season, Rondo secured a spot in the starting lineup, starting in every game. Surrounded by All-Stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, he quickly became a steady, consistent player. In his 77 games played, he averaged 10.6 points per game (ppg), 5.1 assists per game (apg) and 4.2 rebounds per game (rpg). His role as a playmaker reflected in him leading the team in assists and steals. In a game against the New Jersey Nets, Rondo suffered a lower back injury late in the third quarter, forcing him to miss the next four games. He made his successful return from injury and to the starting lineup in a road win against the New York Knicks. A week later, he matched his career-high against the Miami Heat, and then scored a career-high 24 points in a home game against the Los Angeles Clippers the following month. During the All-Star break, he was selected to play on the Sophomore Team in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam. Following the All-Star weekend, Rondo recorded a career-high 16 assists in a home victory against the Charlotte Bobcats. Despite his solid rookie year, there was much speculation about Boston needing a veteran point guard. In March, they signed veteran point guard Sam Cassell as a free agent to serve as a backup. The Celtics' best single-season improvement in NBA history earned them the number one seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Following the regular season, Rondo finished in the top five for the NBA Most Improved Player voting. Rondo made his playoff debut on April 20, 2008 against the Atlanta Hawks and finished the game with 15 points, 9 assists and 2 steals. The Celtics closed out the series in seven games, went on to defeat Cleveland in the next round, and then defeated the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. In the NBA Finals, facing the Los Angeles Lakers, Rondo recorded two strong performances, including a career-high 16 assists in Game 2. In Game 3, however, Rondo left the court in the third quarter after rolling his ankle. The ankle injury was considered a "non-factor", and Rondo eventually made his return in Game 4. In Game 6, the point guard posted a playoffs career-high 6 steals as the Celtics defeated the Lakers 4–2, giving Rondo his first NBA championship ring. After the game Lakers head coach Phil Jackson called Rondo the "star" of Game 6.
In his third NBA campaign, the Celtics began the season with the best starting record in NBA history and also set a franchise record with a nineteen-game winning streak. Rondo's numbers increased from his previous season performance; however, he was criticized for his shooting. He recorded his first career triple-double along with a career-high in assists (16 points, 13 rebounds and 17 assists), against the Indiana Pacers. In a home win against the New York Knicks, Rondo led the team to tie a franchise record with eighteen straight wins. However, after the winning streak was snapped the team struggled, losing seven out of nine games after ending the streak. Rondo—matched up with one of the league's quicker guards, Tony Parker—recorded 16 assists in a losing effort against the Spurs, one short of his season-high. Less than a week later against the Mavericks, he recorded his second career triple-double (19 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists), and then recorded a career-high 32 points against the Phoenix Suns on his 23rd birthday. He became the first NBA athlete to sign an endorsement contract with Red Bull on April 17, 2009. He finished the season ranking fifth in the NBA in assists (8.2) and steals (1.9). The team finished the season as the second seed in the Eastern Conference, although they entered the playoffs without their injured All-Star power forward Kevin Garnett.
In the playoffs match-up against the Chicago Bulls, despite putting up a playoff career-high 29 points in Game 1, the Celtics lost in overtime. Boston won the next two games and in Games 2 and 4, Rondo recorded triple-doubles and became the first Celtic player with two triple-doubles in the same series since Larry Bird in 1986. He also became the first player with multiple triple-doubles in the same playoff series since Jason Kidd had three triple-doubles in the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals. In Game 6, he recorded a career-high 19 assists without a turnover, tying an NBA playoffs record. In the next round against the Orlando Magic, the Celtics lost the first game before Rondo's triple-double performance in Game 2 helped secure a home win. His third triple-double of the postseason tied Larry Bird's franchise record and also became the first to do that since Jason Kidd had four. However, the Celtics were defeated in seven games in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. During the postseason, Rondo nearly averaged a triple double with 16.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 9.8 assists.
During the 2009–10 season, Rondo averaged career highs in points (13.7), assists (9.8) and steals (2.3) and became the first Celtic to lead the league in steals. On November 2, 2009, Rondo signed a five-year extension with the Celtics worth a guaranteed $55 million. In a road victory against the Orlando Magic on Christmas day, Rondo recorded 17 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists, two assists shy of a triple double. Three days later, Rondo scored 30 points along to go with 15 assists in a road loss to the Golden State Warriors. On January 10, 2010, Rondo recorded his third regular-season career triple-double, with 22 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds against the Toronto Raptors. On January 28, 2010, he received his first NBA All-Star selection as a reserve on the Eastern Conference squad for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. He also competed in the 2010 H-O-R-S-E contest but lost In the finals to Kevin Durant. Rondo recorded his fourth regular-season career triple-double against the Denver Nuggets on March 24, 2010, with 11 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds. Two days later against the Sacramento Kings, Rondo entered the game tied with Rick Fox for a franchise record of most steals in a single-season (167), eventually establishing the record with a second-quarter steal from Sean May. In a game against the Houston Rockets on April 2, 2010, he broke Bob Cousy's franchise record for most assists in a single-season.
In the 2010 NBA Playoffs, the Celtics defeated the Miami Heat in five games and faced the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round. In Game 2, Rondo dished out 19 assists tying his career-high and also tying a franchise record for most assists in a playoff game. In Game 4, he recorded his fourth postseason triple-double along with a playoff career-high 29 points and 18 rebounds. He joined Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson as the only other player in NBA history to have 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists in a playoff game. The Celtics eventually defeated the Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals in six games. In the Finals, the Celtics once again faced the Los Angeles Lakers, a team they previously beat in 2008. In Game 2, Rondo recorded his second triple-double of the postseason (19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists), however, despite Rondo's performance, the Celtics succumbed to the Lakers in seven games.
In the first game of the 2010–11 season, Rondo put up 17 assists, which tied with Oscar Robertson for the third-most assists in a season opener. In the third game of the season, he dished out a career-high 24 assists along with a triple-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) against the New York Knicks. It tied him with Isiah Thomas as the only players in NBA history to have at least 24 assists in a triple-double. His total of 50 assists through the first three games of the season tied John Stockton's NBA record for most assists in the first 3 games of the season. In the next game against the Detroit Pistons, he finished the game with 17 assists for a total of 67 assists, which is the most assists in the teams first four games in NBA history. With a 15 assists effort the following day, Rondo again set a record for most assists through the first five games.
Rondo's season also began with injuries. He played through plantar fasciitis in his feet. He missed three games in November due to a strained left hamstring. He sprained his left ankle in a win against the New York Knicks on December 15, 2010, and missed the next seven games. On April 22, in the third game of the first-round playoff series against the New York Knicks, Rondo had a triple-double with 20 assists. Rondo set a Celtics franchise record for most assists in a playoff game. He was also tied with LeBron James with 6 career triple-doubles in the playoffs until James reached his seventh further on in the playoffs during Game 4 of the Finals. Rondo had the third best selling jersey in the league during the 2010–11 season, behind only James and Kobe Bryant.
On February 21, 2012, Rondo was named an injury replacement for Joe Johnson on the Eastern Conference roster at the 2012 NBA All-Star Game. With 18 points, 17 rebounds, and 20 assists against the Knicks on March 4, he joined Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, and Jason Kidd as the only players to have at least 15 points, rebounds, and assists in the same game. In a win against the Heat on April 1, Rondo registered another triple-double (16 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds). Rondo closed out the regular season with 24 consecutive games of 10+ assists. This is not only a Celtics franchise record, but is also the longest streak the NBA has seen since John Stockton logged a streak of 29 such games in 1992. Only Magic Johnson and Stockton have streaks longer than Rondo's, which is still considered active and will resume at the beginning of the 2012–13 regular season.
Rondo posted his sixth triple-double of the season (with 20 assists) in an overtime win against the Hawks on April 11. He had his first triple double of the 2012 playoffs against the same team on May 4, another on May 13 in the first game of the second round against the 76ers, and a third on May 26 in the last game of that round, helping the Celtics advance to the Eastern Conference finals. He joined Larry Bird as the only Celtics players to record a triple-double in a Game 7. In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Rondo scored a career high 44 points while grabbing 8 rebounds and adding 10 assists. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Rondo is the only player in NBA history with 44 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds in a playoff game. On June 6, 2012, Rondo passed Bob Cousy for having 39 playoff games of 10 or more assists, making him the Celtic's all-time leader in that area. Rondo recorded another triple double in the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Finals, but the Celtics lost to the Miami Heat, ending their playoff run. This tenth playoff triple-double ties Rondo for third (with fellow Celtic Larry Bird) among NBA career leaders.
Rondo began the season with 24 consecutive games of 10+ assists. He continued that streak, and recorded his 37th game with 10+ assists against the Orlando Magic on November 25, 2012, matching John Stockton's longest streak. Only Magic Johnson had a longer streak (46 games). The streak ended the next game against the Brooklyn Nets, when he was ejected for fighting with Kris Humphries after Humphries fouled Rondo's teammate Kevin Garnett. Humphries was also ejected, along with Brooklyn's Gerald Wallace, who was accused of escalating the incident. Rondo only recorded three assists before he was ejected. On January 27, 2013, during a game with the Miami Heat, it was revealed that Rondo had torn his ACL and would miss the remainder of the season.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|Led the league|
- Correct as of January 25, 2013
Awards and honors
- Third Team: 2012
- First Team: 2010, 2011
- Second Team: 2009, 2012
- NBA All-Rookie selection:
- Second team: 2007
- NBA regular season leader:
- 2010: most steals (189), most steals per game (2.3)
- 2012: most assists per game (11.7), most triple-doubles (6)
- 2013: most assists per game (11.1), most triple-doubles (5)
- NBA postseason leader:
- 2008: most assists (172), most steals (45)
- 2009: most assists (127), most triple-doubles (3)
- 2010: most triple-doubles (2), most steals (46)
- 2011: most triple-doubles (1)
- 2012: most assists (227), most assists per game (11.9), most triple-doubles (4)
- Boston Celtics franchise records: