Rajon Rondo announces retirement after 16-year NBA career and two titles with Celtics, Lakers

Rajon Rondo is one of the best point guards of his generation. He never put up gaudy scoring numbers, but was regularly flirting with double-digit assist numbers on a nightly basis. He’s always lauded for his basketball IQ, and even as he got into the later years of his career was still an essential player on some important teams. He hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2021-22 season, and while he maybe has something still left in the tank to come off the bench, the 16-year NBA veteran officially announced his retirement recently.

During an appearance on the “All the Smoke” podcast, Matt Barnes asked if we’ve seen the last of him in the NBA and Rondo was quick in his response.

“Absolutely,” Rondo said. “Yeah, I’m done. I can’t. I’d rather spend time with my kids.”

When asked what he thinks about his lengthy and accolade-filled career, Rondo was reflective in his response.

“What a time, it was definitely something that I never took for granted when I was in the game,” Rondo said. “I loved every minute of it, and I appreciate the brotherhood that I was able to share and bond and grow with over the years. I’ve learned so much in this game and it’s made me the man who I am today… I tell people all the time, this wasn’t a dream of mine, it was a goal. I was able to lock in, stay disciplined, I didn’t party a lot in college. But it was worth the sacrifice of me getting to where I wanted to be in life.”

Rondo was drafted with the 21st overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns, but was quickly traded on draft night to the Boston Celtics. By the end of his rookie season, he became the full-time starting point guard. In his sophomore year, he was thrust into a high-pressure situation after the Celtics traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join forces with Paul Pierce and Rondo in order to win a championship. That goal was accomplished, and Rondo became an NBA champion in just his second year in the league. 

After nine seasons with the Celtics, Rondo bounced around from the Mavericks, Kings, Bulls, and Pelicans before landing with the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2019. In his second season with the Lakers, he proved to be a quality role player off the bench and was a key piece in helping L.A. win a championship in the Orlando bubble. Rondo’s last NBA game was with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2021-22 season, in which he put up six points and 14 assists (off the bench) in a win over the Bucks. It served as the perfect example of how Rondo played: minimal scoring but a great floor general and pass-first point guard.

Rondo retires as a four-time All-Star, four-time All-Defensive player, as well as a two time champion. He also finishes in the top 15 of the NBA in career assists and is one of just five players to average 11+ assists for at least four seasons; the other four players to do that are Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Steve Nash and Oscar Robertson. Everyone else in that group is a Hall of Famer, and Rondo would certainly have a strong case to earn that honor now that his playing days are officially over. 

Looking for more NBA coverage? John Gonzalez, Bill Reiter, Ashley Nicole Moss and special guests dive deep into the league’s biggest storylines daily on the Beyond the Arc podcast.

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