Today marks the 56th birthday of Larry Legend himself, the greatest player that came through the Celtics franchise and an undisputed top 10 basketball player of all time. His legend has only grown since he retired as people were able to reminisce on some of his most historic moments.
Everyone enjoys talking about his epic game 7 performance against the Hawks and Dominique Wilkins or the historic steal against the Pistons in the conference Finals but there was another side to Bird, something not seen in a lot of players or appreciated until after they're done playing.
His competitive nature is what made him so good but it also caused him to participate in many on court altercations. For Bird it was his heart and passion that caused his temper to flair. He was never questioned because of who he was. Everything he did was seen as a way to inspire his teammates so his actions, no matter how egregious were supported. That same fire is found in Rajon Rondo and yet he is continuously scrutinized. Is it because of the two players' careers that people's opinion differ, or because of the eras they play in?
"Rondo is always going to be volatile... Just like Larry Bird was volatile and Kobe is volatile."
That might be the most refreshing comment from a media member, Jackie MacMullan, that I've heard in a while. Instead of focusing on how Rondo continues to put himself in these positions people need to accept the player he is and the nature that follows him. Rondo is friends with the Celtics, everyone else is the enemy. The same fire we laud Bird for having is in Rondo and that's what makes him so special. He isn't immature or stubborn he's just a basketball player that follows his own moral compass and set of rules.
By no means am I saying Rondo is the next Bird, but I want the perception of Rondo to be on par with those of his peers instead of being skewed every time he shows some emotion. His passion is what made him who he is and the second he stops playing with his heart he'll become Vince Carter. Larry didn't take anybody's crap whether it was Julius Erving, Bill Laimbeer or Micael Cooper and neither should Rondo.
In a league that has become extremely soft it's good to see some old school physicality coming from Rondo. I wasn't lucky enough to be around for the epic Heat vs. Knicks series or any game that the Bad Boys from Detroit played in, so watching Rondo and his fiery demeanor is something I avidly welcome. Does anybody really think Miss. Kardashian would have survived in a game against Bird, forget Rondo going off on him, the Legend might have strangled him for everyone to see!
The legend of Rondo is slowly growing as each playoff series goes by and there will come a time when these moments are seen as his blue collar attitude getting the best of him. Every NBA great has some sort of a killer instinct and Rondo is no different. To be anything like the greats before him Rondo needs to continue to play the way he has been, and the only way he knows.
P.S. I know Kobe was a part of that tweet but a player with 10 total career assists doesn't get the nod from me. Plus he's a Laker.