I’m forty eight years old. I’ve seen a lifetime of inspirational performances on the courts, ballparks and fields. A couple of decades ago, I saw Michael Jordan put up 51 points in an Eastern Conference final when playing with a flu that would have had most men on their backs. A few years before that, I saw Kellen Winslow of the San Diego Chargers keep bringing it play after play after play against the Miami Dolphins in the longest NFL playoff game ever. Not so long ago, I saw Brett Favre throw touchdown after touchdown on Monday Night Football the evening of the day his dad died. But nothing matches what Rajon Rondo did last night for the Boston Celtics.
If you saw the game, you know what I’m talking about. If you didn’t, go here and check out what Rondo did to his elbow. Human elbows aren’t meant to bend past straight. But his did. By about another thirty degrees. I thought he was done for good–and I mean season, not just game. Maybe even requiring surgery today. But no, Rondo came back about five minutes later, and effectively played one-handed. And when I say effectively, I mean he was effective.
The guys on the Celtic’s couldn’t have known how bad was his injury last night. Only slow-motion video replay really captures the gruesome nature of the break. So they probably didn’t appreciate until today what Rondo had done. Now it should inspire them. The man is fearless; there is nothing he won’t do to help his team win.
This is the beauty of basketball for me, particularly NBA basketball. You feel like you know the players because it is so up close and personal. It is not a sport derived specifically from mock combat, such as is football, but the same tribal, visceral values apply. And who would you want in your tribe if it were fighting an existential war against another? I’d take KG and Rondo for me and mine every time.