Imrem: The legend of Rondo continues to grow

  • The legend of Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo beginning to resemble former Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski's

    The legend of Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo beginning to resemble former Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski's Associated Press

 
 
Updated 4/21/2017 10:15 PM

The legend of Rajon Rondo grew and grew and grew Friday.

And then grew some more during the Bulls 104-87 loss to the Celtics in Game 3 of their NBA playoff series.

 

Odd as it might sound, Rondo is reviving his career similarly to how A.J. Pierzynski did with the White Sox in 2005.

Consider this: The Bulls won the first two games of the series at Boston with Rondo and lost the third game in the United Center without him.

"He's obviously a real good player who had two real good games (to start the series)," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

Rondo sat on the bench in Game 3 wearing a colorful outfit and cast on his right thumb, which he broke in Game 2.

"Certainly when you're missing a good player it's impactful," Stevens conceded.

The way this series has gone, it's no wonder that Rondo's basketball reputation is shining quite a bit brighter than even just a month or so ago.

"We are going to miss Rondo, no doubt about it," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said.

The Bulls signed Rondo, 31, in the offseason and he came to town after controversial stops in Dallas and Sacramento.

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After a couple more troubling episodes here during the season, Rondo's play the past month and especially the past week seems to have resurrected his career.

Sound familiar?

Maybe it should if you're a fan of the White Sox, who signed the flammable Pierzynski prior to the 2005 season.

All the Sox's catcher proceeded to do was help them win the World Series during his first year here.

The Bulls aren't going to win the NBA title this season but Rondo did help them sneak into the playoffs.

Then came the bum thumb just as the Bulls were starting to feel good about themselves.

Skeptics wondered why the Bulls signed Rondo in the first place. Then they wondered why he wasn't released after the trade deadline.

Rondo had a couple more stormy episodes this season but he and the Bulls finally meshed into a playoff team.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Now the conversation is what a great teammate Rondo is to younger players, how intelligent he is, how competitive he is.

"Obviously," Bulls center Robin Lopez said, "Rajon is a huge part of what we do."

Very few athletes are originals and that applies to Rajon Rondo.

The Bulls point guard's career arc is similar to that of Pierzynski, the catcher that was critical to the White Sox' first championship in 88 years.

After one season -- that '05 romp -- Pierzynski wasn't so much reinvented as re-established as a valuable asset instead of a pain in the, uh, you know where.

By the next spring training, Pierzynski was looked upon as a player you hate to play against but love to play with.

Rondo still being Rondo and the Bulls still being the Bulls, nobody can guarantee that there will be a next training camp here.

If there isn't, the developments of the past month will make Rondo attractive to other NBA teams again.

After Pierzynski's comeback season with the White Sox, he went on to play another decade in the major leagues.

Who knows how long Rondo will play now? Who knows whether his basketball mind will qualify him to be a head coach when he's done playing?

Anything will be possible if Rajon Rondo's legend continues to grow and grow and grow like it did Friday.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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