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NBA News: 4-Time All-Star, 2-Time Champ Announces

Sixteen-year NBA veteran Rajon Rondo is calling it a career. The four-time All-Star, four-time All-Defensive teamer, and 2012 All-NBA third teamer has officially confirmed his retirement.

The pesky 6-foot-1 point guard out of Kentucky was a recent guest on one of the most entertaining ex-player NBA podcasts, Showtime’s All The Smoke, hosted by former wings Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes. He was asked to clarify if he was indeed done for good.

“Yeah I’m done. I’d rather spend time with my kids,” Rondo continued.

Rajon Rondo DeMarcus Cousins Marcus Morris
Rajon Rondo #4, DeMarcus Cousins #15, Marcus Morris Sr. #8 and Nicolas Batum #33 of the LA Clippers react during the second half of game one of the Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Suns…

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Rondo hasn’t played in a pro game, in the NBA, or indeed in any other league, since the 2021-22 season, so perhaps this announcement was more of a formality for the 38-year-old than anything else. Still, he’s wrapping up a decorated run that, had it not been for a pesky ACL tear that took him down in the middle of his prime, could have seen him bound for Springfield.

“What a time,” Rondo said of his playing career. “It was definitely something that I never took for granted while I was in the game. Loved every minute of it and I appreciated the brotherhood that I was able to share and bond and grow with over the years. I learned so much in this game and it’s made the man I am today.”

Across 957 regular season contests (733 starts), he posted averages of 9.8 points on 45.6% shooting from the floor, 7.9 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.6 steals. Those numbers don’t really properly encapsulate his achievements, in large part because his career had such an extended post-prime tail that depreciated what he could do at his best.

During his four All-Star seasons with the Boston Celtics, from 2009-13, Rondo averaged 12.3 points on 48.7% shooting, 10.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.1 steals for a star-laden team. He was the league leader in assists across three separate seasons, and an elite point-of-attack defender to boot. His chief weakness in his athletic prime was his erratic jumper, but he managed to improve that and extend his range during his role player years post-Boston.

Rondo proved to be an absolute steal as the No. 21 pick in the 2006 draft. During his sophomore season, Rondo cemented his standing as a starter for a 66-win 2007-08 Celtics squad, which would go on to win the franchise’s first title in 22 years (and its last title in 15 seasons and counting) while playing alongside Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

By the time Boston returned to the Finals in 2010, Rondo had blossomed into an All-Star. He seemed to be the team’s future, a bridge to a new era, when in the midst of another stellar 2012-13 campaign he tore that ACL. Rondo was never really the same afterward. He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks during the 2014-15 season, and after a brief, miserable run with that club, he began to truly rehab his image with some solid stints around the league.

Rondo showed off an improved 3-pointer with the Sacramento Kings, where he went on to average a double-double for the first time in three years during 2015-16. He signed on for the “Three Alphas” era of the Chicago Bulls next to All-Star Jimmy Butler and Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade, and began to cultivate his “Playoff Rondo” reputation when he started to channel his former All-Star self during the Bulls’ first round 1-8 East playoff matchup against his old club, the Celtics. Rondo helped the Bulls gallop to a 2-0 series lead, before a hand injury ruled Rondo out for the remainder of series.

The “Playoff Rondo” identity was further burnished during his tenures alongside Anthony Davis — first on the New Orleans Pelicans in 2017-18, when he helped the upstart club win a playoff series, and next in 2019-20, when he helped Davis’ Los Angeles Lakers win their 17th title in franchise history (and the second in Rondo’s).

Rondo also played for the Lakers in 2018-19, but injuries to the point guard and All-Star forward LeBron James essentially killed their playoff hopes.

Rondo spent his final two seasons with four different franchises. His 2020-21 campaign was split between the Atlanta Hawks and LA Clippers, where he was reunited with his Pelicans and Kings teammate DeMarcus Cousins). His 2021-22 season started off with a brief return to the Lakers, before he wrapped his year (and career) on the Cleveland Cavaliers.