Rajon Rondo may have won his first NBA championship with the Boston Celtics, but since joining the Lakers for three of the last four seasons he’s played, he’s made no secret of his affinity for the purple and gold.
In 2018, just a few weeks into his tenure in Los Angeles, he was already saying things like “I can’t say it’s not the best (organization) I’ve ever played for” and adding that “other teams I’ve played for, they do have great organizations, but none can touch this.”
Now, Rondo is a legendary troll, and his dry wit can sometimes be hard to discern from his serious analysis. In a very different way from Nick Young, he’s half serious, always never. So that’s worth bearing in mind when thinking about the above quotes or the one below. But when asked by reporters at the team’s Friday shootaround before their game against the Celtics about his favorite moments in the Boston Garden, he admitted that one of his top-five came as a member of the Lakers.
Boston is likely the market that will forever be associated with Rondo, even though he’s won titles in both cities. But Rondo acknowledged one of his top five memories in the Garden is as a Laker: In 2019, he hit a game-winning shot against the Celtics, and none other than Kevin Garnett stormed the court to embrace him.
What made that moment special was his then-7-year-old son Pierre sitting in the crowd.
“I can’t put it too high, you know, but it’s up there,” he said. “Especially the memories of my son. He was actually here on the court with me when I hit it so it’s a pretty big one.”
That shot, which was potentially the last bright moment of the doomed 2018-19 season, will never be the most-remembered game-winner Rondo has been involved in. That will probably always be the way he set up Anthony Davis’ iconic buzzer-beater in the 2020 Western Conference Finals.
Still, it was a shot made all the more special given that it was the exact sequence he was practicing with his son the morning before the game:
When Rondo was playing with his son this morning, he hit nearly the same shot, on the same side of the court, as his buzzer beater. pic.twitter.com/l2IhQlmvtJ— Silver Screen and Roll (@LakersSBN) February 8, 2019
And if there is one thing we know Lil’ Rondo loves just from watching the Lakers’ championship celebration, it’s winners:
So of course that buzzer-beater with his kid in attendance (and old enough to remember it) is a special memory Rondo will always look back on, especially as his career winds down.
But even if there are a lot of genuine, human reasons for that fondness, it is still hilarious that a man who very well may have his jersey retired in Boston says one of his favorite memories from the Celtics’ arena will be... beating Boston.
The Lakers need to give Rondo (and his son) a statue just for that.