Rajon Pierre Rondo was born on February 22, 1986 in Louisville, Kentucky to Amber Rondo and has three siblings: Dymon, William, and Anton. His nickname is Johnny and he has a prized shoe collection. He also loves rhythmic roller skating and spends much of his spare time at the roller skating rink practicing his moves. He claims the title of best skater in the NBA.
Rondo played basketball at Louisville's Eastern High School for his freshman, sophomore, and junior years. His coach there was Doug Bibby. His junior year, he averaged 27.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg and 7.5 apg. He also earned 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 ppg, 3.0 rpg and 12.0 apg. Rondo was also named to 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, scoring 12 points, 5 assists and 4 steals. In his senior year, Rondo had one game where he dished out 31 assists, just four away from the all-time national record. He is still in touch with his high school coach and has a strong friendship with him.
When it came time to choose a college, his first choice was the University of Louisville playing for Rick Pitino. Pitino really liked Rondo, but he also had his heart set on Brooklyn, N.Y., point guard Sebastian Telfair, who everyone suspected was going to skip college and enter the NBA draft. Pitino put Rondo on hold and gambled on Telfair, hoping he would put on a Cardinals uniform for at least one season. He wound up losing both players as Telfair did indeed jump directly to the NBA and Rondo got tired of waiting and signed with the University of Kentucky.
His freshman season, he averaged 8.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists and led the SEC in steals per game (2.56). He also set a single-season school record for steals with 87. His sophomore season, he led the SEC in assists with 4.9 per game and ranked second in steals with 2.0 per game, while averaging 11.2 points and a team-high 6.1 rebounds. Rondo had trouble fitting in to Tubby Smith's system though which never played to Rondo's strengths and he left school in 2005, after his sophomore season, for the NBA.
He was named to the 2005 USA Men’s U-21 World Championship Team, which traveled to the FIBA World Championships in Argentina and finished fifth there. Rondo averaged 11.0 ppg on 65.5% shooting and 4.5 apg in the eight-game tournament. His 27 steals set a new competition record, while he doubled the single-game steals record with eight versus China and tied the record for field -goals made with nine versus Nigeria. The USA U-21 team claimed a gold medal at the Global Games in Texas in late July.
He was drafted with the 21st pick by Phoenix and then traded to the Celtics on Draft night. Danny said afterward that Rondo was his man all along, even if he had kept the 7th pick which had been traded for Sebastian Telfair, and when he saw him slipping he started to make calls to try to make a deal for him. It is interesting that Rondo joined the Celtics along with Sebastian Telfair on draft night because of their somewhat strange history together when both were being recruited for the University of Louisville.
After watching Rondo during his first season, it wasn't hard to see why Danny really wanted him. Seattle was trying to demand that he be included in the Ray Allen deal and Danny made it clear that including Rondo was a deal breaker, even for Ray Allen. The same happened when Kevin McHale tried to insist on Rondo being included in the KG trade. Danny was quite adamant in wanting to keep him.
He is extremely fast. He's got a blinding first step that is tough to stop. His long arms and athleticism make him a terrific perimeter defender. He's an amazing rebounder for his size. He plays with poise, sees the floor well and really excels in the open court. He is capable of running the pick and roll quite well. He also has huge hands that help him to control the ball and to get steals and is constantly getting into the passing lanes and forcing turnovers.
He is a tough player who has no problem getting physical to get the job done. He also isn't afraid to take a charge to prevent a score. Many times we saw Rondo take the charge and go flying as he got in front of much bigger players on their way to the basket. Defensively, he can change the complexion of a game because of his long arms and huge hands and his penchant for getting steals that lead to easy baskets.
The one knock against Rondo coming into the league was that he couldn't shoot. Over his two seasons in the league, he has improved his shooting considerably. Over the last season, he spent a lot of time working out with one of the best shooters in the game in Ray Allen and has learned a lot from him.
Going into last season, there were a lot of questions surrounding Rondo. Was he a championship caliber guard? Could he run a team with 3 superstars? Could he hit enough shots to keep the defenses honest? Would he hit a sophomore slump when his team needed him most? One by one Rondo answered each of these questions and then some. He led the team with poise and played beyond his years for the most part the entire season. He proved that he was equal to the task of leading a team with 3 superstars to a championship.
In Rondo, we have a player with a great work ethic and excellent character. He is soft spoken off the court, but ready to become a vocal leader on the court, running a team with 3 stars and keeping them happy. He is a defensive minded point guard who will do whatever it takes to win. As good as he was last season, he will be even better this season with another year of experience under his belt. You might say that he fits this Celtics team like a "Glove."