Former Celtics star Rajon Rondo recalls his grief in the 2010 NBA Finals against Kobe Bryant

The outstanding point guard for the Boston Celtics, Rajon Rondo, aspired to go down in history as one of the game’s all-time greats. His greatest aspiration was to win a second NBA title and earn Finals MVP honors. But in 2010, when his Celtics played the Los Angeles Lakers headed by Kobe Bryant, his hopes were shattered.

Unfortunately for Rondo, the Lakers came out on top, so he didn’t get the glory and acclaim he was hoping for. In light of this major setback, Rondo recently spoke on JJ Redick’s podcast and discussed his feelings about it. Even for a superb player like Rondo, the NBA is a brutally competitive league where the difference between winning and losing may be razor thin.

Kobe Bryant’s 2010 NBA Finals Celtics win still upsets Rajon Rondo

Basketball historians will remember the 2010 NBA Finals as one of the most exciting Finals series of all time. The title series featured the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Then-Celtics’ star point guard, Rajon Rondo, wanted nothing more than to win an NBA title and earn the Finals MVP award to add to his repertoire. Unfortunately for Rondo, his dreams were dashed by a loss to the Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers.

Rondo, reflecting on that defining moment, opened out about his feelings on JJ Redick’s podcast, highlighting the toll it took on his emotions. A victory in the Finals, in his mind, would have put him in the running for Finals MVP, and he had a great season overall.

Even if Rondo’s numbers from the 2010 NBA Finals don’t scream “Finals MVP,” his effect can’t be ignored. He finished with 13.6 pts, 6.3 rebs, and 7.6 asts per game on average during the seven-game series, with his triple-double coming in Game 2 of the series’ triumph.

Basketball at its most intensely competitive, was on full display in the 2010 NBA Finals. While Kobe Bryant and the Lakers’ offense were dominant, the Finals MVP title went to the Celtics because of their well-rounded offensive performance. Rondo’s resiliency and passion shone through in defeat, exemplifying the cutthroat nature of the NBA and the narrow margins that separate the best from the rest.

Kobe Bryant once called Rajon Rondo an ‘a**hole like him’ in 2014

Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo formed a special friendship despite their frequent on-court battles, including several showdowns in the NBA Finals. The two players have startlingly similar personalities and a shared predisposition for competitive spirit. Their competition didn’t turn into hatred, but rather, it sparked an off-court camaraderie between them.

Kobe Bryant’s relationship with Rajon Rondo was unlike any other rivalry he had during his brilliant career, which included a legendary battle with Shaquille O’Neal and interactions with Raja Bell and Smush Parker. Rather than being enemies, they were pals. In 2014, their friendship was on full display when they were seen enjoying breakfast together, joining the ranks of other NBA greats including Allen Iverson and Michael Jordan with whom Kobe frequently dined.

Kobe summed up their similarities in a single phrase during breakfast.

“From what I understand, [Rondo] is an a**hole like me.”

“That’s a great compliment coming from Kobe. I feel the same way about him… Just two a**holes having breakfast.”, was Rondo’s lighthearted reply.

Their confidence in their unyielding personalities, which has helped them soar in the NBA, was on full display in this encounter. Their similarities in terms of straightforwardness and confidence led them to form a strong friendship off the courts, further supporting the idea that this common outlook was a key factor in their success.

Sami Haider

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Sami Haider is an NBA writer at SportsKnot. His foray into basketball scriptwriting started in 2020, when he was enthralled by the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA championship victory. His previous experience was limited to dribbling and dunking as a neighborhood kid. His insightful writings show how much he loves the sport. His writing goes beyond numbers and scores, giving readers a unique viewpoint on the players, teams, and events that define the basketball scene. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a casual observer, Sami's work is essential for anybody trying to expand their knowledge and love of the NBA.


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