Former Wildcat, 4-time All-Star Rajon Rondo announces retirement from NBA

On3 imageby:Zack Geoghegan04/02/24

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Rajon Rondo is calling it quits on the NBA.

The 38-year-old veteran made the announcement on the “All the Smoke” podcast, which aired on Monday. Rondo was asked by host Matt Barnes if he is done pursuing a job in the NBA.

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

Rondo, a native of Louisville, spent two seasons with the Kentucky Wildcats from 2004-06, making the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2005. His 87 steals as a rookie remain the program’s single-season record. As a sophomore, the 6-foot-1 point guard averaged 11.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game before heading off to the NBA.

After being selected with the 21st overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, Rondo went on to enjoy a 16-year professional career while being named an All-Star four times. He spent most of his career with the Boston Celtics but also saw stints with the Mavericks, Kings, Bulls, Pelicans, Lakers, Hawks, Clippers, and Cavaliers.

Rondo’s best stretch as a pro ran from 2009-13 when he earned all four of his All-Star Game nominations. He averaged 12.4 points, 10.8 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.1 steals in 37 minutes per outing during that four-year span, and was even a top 10 MVP candidate in 2011 and 2012.

“What a time, it was definitely something that I never took for granted when I was in the game,” Rondo, who has recently run into some legal issues, 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.”

Throughout his NBA career, Rondo racked up plenty of accolades. He was a key contributor on two different championship-winning franchises (Celtics in 2008; Lakers in 2020), made four total All-Defensive Teams, one All-NBA Team, led the league in assists three times (2012, 2013, 2016) and in steals once (2010), and earned more than $117 million in contract money.

Prior to joining Kentucky, Rondo attended Louisville’s Eastern High School for three seasons before making the leap to prep school. He transferred to Oak Hill Academy for his senior season and was later named a McDonald’s and Parade All-American.

Two decades later, his basketball career is in the books.

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2024-04-22