Last season, Rajon Rondo and LeBron James weren’t successful together on the court, but they still had mutual respect for each other because of their respective basketball IQs. This season, they’ve helped the Los Angeles Lakers win 24 game — the most in the Western Conference — and the respect is still there in spite of his affiliation with Kevin Garnett.
For those that missed it, Garnett went on “The Bill Simmons Podcast” and said that the Boston Celtics “broke” James in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals. Rondo was asked about his former teammates’ comments after the Lakers’ loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, but Rondo gave the pool of reporters a very political answer and instead used it as an opportunity to express how much he’s enjoyed playing with James:
I thought it was important to clarify whether Rondo does, in fact, like LeBron. He said, "I love LeBron. He’s one of my favorite teammates i’ve ever played for. He’s a very unselfish person."— Bill Oram (@billoram) December 20, 2019
Trashing your teammates is generally bad practice — especially teammates with as much organizational influence as James — so Rondo made the right call by deciding not to have Garnett’s back on that one. Additionally, Garnett’s comments are just incorrect.
The Celtics didn’t break anyone in 2010 — the same year the Lakers beat them in seven games — and they for damn sure didn’t break James. Since that ill-fated series, which denied basketball fans from seeing James and Kobe Bryant in an NBA Finals matchup, James has won three NBA championships, three finals MVPs and the league MVP three times. James has more hardware to his name than the entire Celtics have had in the last three decade.
Garnett is arguably one of the three best power forwards to ever play the game and that Celtics team is probably one of the best teams of the 2010s on paper, but James is still kicking at 34 years old, so it’s safe to say he’s recovered from that series.