Rajon Rondo. He is one of the most mercurial players in the league. His unbelievable skill and exciting style of play makes Boston Celtics fans salivate at the mere prospect of watching him while his brash arrogance and unbridled stubbornness makes fans of other teams curse his name.
So, why does nearly everyone except Celtics fans hate Rondo?
Well, for one thing, he's really good.
I'm sure New York Knicks fans were itching to buy a pile of Rondo jerseys and burn them after he posted an 18-point, 20-assist, 17-rebound stat line on them back on March 4th of this year, and I'm just as sure that Miami Heat fans wanted to do the very same thing during Rondo's 44-point outburst in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Rondo is a guy who seems like he breaks and sets records every time he steps on to the court, so it's no wonder why he rubs the rest of the league outside of Boston the wrong way.
Of course, it's not just his talent that fuels such hatred, though.
It's things like throwing Kirk Hinrich into the scorer's table. It's things like going after cameramen (and wearing clothing like he did in that video). It's things like calling a team a bunch of crybabies. It's things like claiming that he is the best point guard in the NBA.
Basically, Rondo thinks he is better than anybody and everybody who makes their way on to the floor, and it's that raw confidence (and, as I mentioned earlier, arrogance) that is the driving force behind his ridiculously high level of play.
What people also have to realize is that Rondo plays for one of the most despised franchises in basketball (and probably in sports in general) in the Celtics. Had he played for a team like the San Antonio Spurs or the Dallas Mavericks, he would probably be one of the most beloved players in the NBA.
Just look at Kevin Garnett.
When he was a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, just about everybody loved him. They admired his passion and his desire, and they saw him as a lovable underdog. Now that he's wearing green, he is hated, hated perhaps more than anyone not named LeBron James or Kobe Bryant.
K.G. went from being considered physical and intense to cheap and dirty overnight, and don't think that the fact that he now plays for Boston has nothing to do with that.
Garnett represents everything a Celtic should represent, and so does Rondo. He plays the game with emotion. He is dedicated. He will do anything to put his team in a position to win, and he is a warrior, as evidenced by him returning to the game minutes after gruesomely dislocating his elbow in Game 3 of the C's' 2011 second-round series against the Heat.
Not only that, but Rondo cherishes being a Celtic. He reveres the opportunity.
Remember how many trade rumors Rondo had been involved in over the course of the past couple of years? In November and December of 2011, it looked like he was being traded for Chris Paul. There were even rumors that Boston was considering dealing him for Stephen Curry.
Despite all of that, Rondo never complained. He never sad a bad word about the Celtics organization. Unlike certain other players who got their feelings all ruffled because they were being discussed in trades (and I'm sure you all know what player I am talking about), Rondo kept his mouth shut and kept playing. Not only did he keep playing, but he kept playing at an elite level.
That is why Celtics fans adore the 26-year-old, and Miami fans and Chicago Bulls fans would also love him if he played for their ballclub.
The funny thing is, the legend of Rajon Rondo has only just begun. As I said, he is only 26. He probably has another decade-plus of basketball left in him, and who knows what kinds of milestones he will establish over the course of that time period. Rondo said he wants to go down as the greatest point guard in Boston history, and as long as he maintains this level of play, there is a very good chance that that will happen. Sorry, Bob Cousy.
Is Rondo stubborn? Sure. Even his own coach says it.
Is he immature? At times, absolutely.
But he is a Boston Celtic through and through, and he will always be exalted by Celtics fans everywhere because of that.
Other fans? Let them hate. We know the reason they are hating is because they wish they had him.