What Rajon Rondo learned from Kevin Garnett, Celtics leaders

Jacob Camenker
NBC Sports Boston

What Rajon Rondo learned from Kevin Garnett, Celtics leaders originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com

Rajon Rondo's final season with the Boston Celtics didn't go too smoothly, and his trade to the Dallas Mavericks wasn't smooth sailing either. But in the time since that, Rondo has continued to be a solid NBA point guard and has made strides in a critical area: leadership.

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In a recent interview with Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher, Rondo opened up on some of the leaders he played with during his time in Boston and the impact they had on him. He was especially appreciative of the impact that Kevin Garnett had on him.

That's why KG was so big for me. When things didn't go well in Boston, Kevin would be one of the first guys to call me and tell me, 'That was right today' or 'That was wrong today.' The biggest thing he taught me was that you can't pick and choose when you want to be a leader. You have to do it every day. ...

I was fortunate, later, to have great leaders like KG and [coach] Doc Rivers. Sam Cassell came in; Eddie House, Keyon Dooling, PJ Brown. I took a little bit from all of them.

Rondo was talking about leadership in the context of playing with LeBron James, who has mostly been forced into a leadership role during his career without the luxury of learning the ropes from future Hall of Famers like Garnett. 

It's unsurprising to see Rondo praise the Celtics. He had his most successful years during his time in Boston, and developed into one of the league's premier distributors. His development was, in part, shaped by the leaders he played with in Boston and it's obvious that Garnett had a big impact on him.

These lessons have helped Rondo to become a leader later in his career. Though he has played for six different teams over the course of the last five seasons -- including a particularly rough stretch with the Mavericks -- he has been mostly solid during postseason play. Last postseason, he averaged a league-leading 12.2 assists per game with the New Orleans Pelicans.

The 33-year-old veteran knows what is expected of him, and he has clearly tried to emulate his former mentors in Boston during the latter stages of his career.

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