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Thursday, January 6th, 2011 at 1:01 pm  |  97 responses

SLAM 145: On Sale Now!

Rajon Rondo is Boston’s new green monster.

Happy New Year everyone! There’s no better way to get back into the swing of things than with a brand-new SLAM. This month we’re coming with some “Point-Guard Madness,” a topic I discuss at length in my Editor’s Letter. To drive this topic home we have two covers this month: an “A-B split” of Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo. “A-B” means every newsstand should have both issues, which means the true SLAM diehards can cop both issues. And, as always, both will soon be available in the SLAM section of simbackissues.com.

Besides CP and Rajon, we’ve got great features on Monta Ellis, Manu Ginobili, Blake Griffin, Calvin Murphy and so much more good stuff. But you guys know our biggest thing is always our covers. For more on Chris Paul, click over to Vince Thomas’ blog right here. For more on Khalid’s experience writing about Rajon—and maybe a little Philadelphia Eagles talk—just scroll down…—Ed.

by Khalid Salaam

Based upon the players there I had my assumptions, but after going to a Celtics game and seeing it up close I know it for a fact now: The Celtics are the most entertaining team in the League. I’m not talking about on and off the court. The locker room (which, btw, is physically small compared to others I’ve been in) is basically a comedy show. Dudes clowning each other on music or clothes choices, media members laughing as much as interviewing (Glen Davis is remarkably funny—he is very candid to say the least.) and just an overall lack of formality makes it an interesting place. Included in this are the Celtic team employees.

For instance, there’s a bathroom to the left of the media dining room with a broken door (it could be fixed now but it was broke in December). So I’m in there washing my hands before dinner (I’m civilized like that) and I reach for the door and it doesn’t turn. So I’m like, OK, it must be still locked. It wasn’t. Well maybe I didn’t turn it hard enough, so I tried again. Nothing. So I pull on it. Nothing. I turn and pull with extra strength. Nothing. There’s a bunch of people outside the door and I’m trying to maintain a sense of dignity and not just wild out so I stop and wait for about 3 or 4 seconds. Now I’m pulling the door with all my might, I mean straight trying to pull this joint off its hinges hard. I’m cursing too. And I’m loud at that. Remember I finished washing my hands a good 2-3 minutes ago and I’m stuck inside a bathroom at the TD BankNorth Garden. Then I hear a voice from outside the door. “Turn the door knob all the way to the right and then let me push.”

So I do it. Nothing. Then the guy says, “Did you turn I all the way?”

I’m like “YEAH! What’s up with this door?”

He tells me to try again. This time it opens and he explains that “it happens sometimes” and that “it’s a good thing it wasn’t later at night when there’s less people around.”

How can this happen? I responded by saying “this is a multi-million dollar arena, this is madness!” and then he said “NO! THIS ..IS ..BOSTON!!!”

He didn’t really say that last part but that’s what he felt like to me. So I go into the media dining area and sat down at a table with a woman who works for the Celtics media relations dept who told me she’s been with the team ever since that classic triple OT game in 1976 against the Suns. I was less than a year old when that happened so of course I was fascinated and asked her a bunch of questions, to which she showed great kindness and remarkable memory retention by answering all of them. Her only question for me was what was the difference between writing and blogging (I told her it’s money). I forgot her name but she said she would look out for the Rondo issue on newsstands. I hope she does, she was really cool. I like old people if you haven’t guessed.

So I get up to get another glass of Sprite when Kendrick Perkins rolls in real regular like. He was in line making jokes about the food, which wasn’t readily available since the Garden has changed vendors. For some reason that I didn’t totally understand the new food vendor didn’t have any food ready for pre-game dining so everyone was restless. Perkins was pretty funny and apparently always comes in and makes jokes. I’ve been to a lot of games and a lot of media dining rooms. I’ve never, ever seen players come in there before. A cart of candy bars and corn chips comes out and all the NESN, WEEI, and ESPN people go hard for it. I join them and take two Kit-Kats to my arena seat.

I say this all to reiterate what an interesting team this is. KG, Shaq, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Nate Robinson all give good quotes. So does Coach Rivers and even Rondo, whose rep for being quiet has to be taken into context. With that locker room anyone can seem quiet. But when I interviewed him, he was fairly talkative.

We talked about his prep days—“In HS I pretty much dominated bball in Kentucky. I mean, you know, not that I got all types of records or anything but I challenged myself everyday.” (We both laughed after he said “dominated”, that’s why he backtracked a little.) Rajon Rondo

His time at the university of Kentucky—“My proudest moments at Kentucky? I don’t have just one but I appreciate the relationships I had with the other guys. We really had a lot fun playing bball but off the court we had great times…guys like Randolph Morris, Joe Crawford, Patrick Sparks, all those guys.”

And what it’s like to be a leader of a team with this much personality—“I don’t think you have to have great camaraderie to win a championship but it helps a lot to get along. You don’t have to do these things but we go out to eat together, we go to the mall together, just little things we do off the court. Every different city we go places together. We play cards together, we don’t gamble though (again we both but out laughing after his gambling clarification. He says everything with sort of a deadpan delivery, so for a microsecond you’re not sure he’s joking but then he laughs so it’s obvious. I get the sense that Rondo is aware of his quiet rep and though it doesn’t bother him, he wants people to know that he can be funny when he wants to be), we just do fun things on the plane. We all understand each other and we come from similar backgrounds. Its like being with your brothers.”

I purposely didn’t ask about his injury situation, which was newsworthy then and moreso a couple of games later. I just didn’t care really. Nor did I ask him about the Heat (which one reporter did to Robinson post-game, which created yet another funny moment) nor about the age of his teammates. All of these have been asked a thousand times. I no more want to ask then they want to answer. While writing this story I watched a lot of Celtics games (and listened to the new Cee-Lo joint and the instrumental of “Devil In A New Dress”) and was initially surprised they didn’t struggle more but good teams often can withstand not having a key player for a few games. A prolonged absence though, diminishes this team greatly. I saw last night that he had 16 assists and that’s certainly a good sign. This Celtics team is a team that’s hard to dislike. They energy and skill in which they play on both sides of the court makes them fun to watch. I have no predictions about the playoffs in early January but I will say that with the Magic reloaded and Lebron and Wade vying for the 1st ever Co-MVP Award, the Eastern Conference should be fun to watch in the next few months.

One thing on a different topic for all my fellow Eagles fans (GREEN AND SILVER!, GREEN AND SILVER!), who have been through a crazy year. I predicted a 6-10, 7-9 type of year. So 10-6 is awesome and I think we’ll beat Green Bay but as I told Ben recently, after that I just don’t know. Yes the skills positions are great, but this isn’t 7-on-7 football. We’re not Super Bowl worthy. You have to have non-skill position locked down at this time of the year. And the Eagles don’t. Shaky LB’s, we don’t have a Tight End on the roster who can run block consistently, our offensive tackles are up and down, with Allen out our secondary is weak and lately Vick can’t pick up the hot read. So again if we beat the Pack (no small feat because Rodgers is sick but if we stifle the run game we should beat them) that’s all I can really ask.

However, after GB, we would play Atlanta. At the GA DOME. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Same thing Lang is thinking.

Green and Silver…..Green and Silver….

Rajon Rondo SLAM 145

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  • Scott

    Nice!!!

  • buzzkut

    Copping this fo sho.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    The yellow complementing the green, Rondo’s white/green kicks blending with the text colour, the fresh stance, even the grey stars: FANTASTIC cover. Right up there with the Sin Cities and Supa-Dwight covers in visual appeal for me.

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  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Rondo definitely deserved a cover. I hope I get that one and not Chris Paul. No offense to dude, he’s just been in a lot of covers already. But this Rondo one is fresh!
    Still hate him and his Celitcs though. LOL.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Thanks Darksaber! Thanks for the write-up Khalid. I’m pretty excited about this month.

  • t-sizzle

    yeah rondo is all-deserving this cover. let’s get blake griffin next aight?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    RONDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well deserved. I love this cat even though he’s a rival. Great work, fam!

  • letsmotor

    well-designed cover for a well-deserving player. great work Slam. If I end up with the CP3 one, I’m going out and buying a copy with the Rondo cover.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Khalid, y’all don’t want it…

  • YokoDMV

    xcellent story and pics :) shoes so low and a fade so high… either way #rondooooooooo

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Cawford

    4 PG’s on consecutive SLAM covers (Rose, Wall, Rondo, CP3)! The PG’s are back baby! (and it’s about time)

  • LA Huey

    My favorite PG in the L today

  • Bruno

    great cover!!! and I can’t imagine what it’d be Vick against the Falcons … I can’t wait

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jake Appleman

    Loved this cover when Ben showed it to me last night. A day later it’s still wicked nice. By the way, Khalid, I’ve never had problems with that bathroom door, but I think that’s because Jo Jo White was standing outside one of the times I went in. *Paws*

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    That cover is fresh to death. I’m picking this one up for sure.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    Love it, and Go Iggles!

  • Scott

    Bruno…Green Bay over Philly. Sorry.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Eff the Eagles.

  • Jer-Dawg

    Go Eagles! anyway, I’d better NOT get that Rondo cover out here in Los Angeles! I have subscription to SLAM & I’m disappointed that Mr. Griffin isn’t on the cover, but you know what? I’m happy that SLAM is featuring him inside. Can’t wait for it. Besides,” SLAM jinx.” I haven’t forgotten that. Keep Griffin off until off season, please!

  • Bruno

    who wouldnt want Vick in the super bowl

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  • http://slamonline.com/ Adam Figman

    Too fresh.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Thanks for the nice comments, everyone. Also, remember that both Khalid and Vince’s blog posts are just little samples of their time with these great point guards. Their actual features in the print mag are awesome.

  • Scott

    Bruno…Goodell

  • ClydeSays

    Great piece and great cover! Love the ‘new green monster’ tag.

    And by the way, GO PATS!

  • paul

    Rondo likes the word “dominate”, but he has the good taste to be embarrassed by it.

  • JTaylor21

    Nice cover but he’s still not even close to being the best PG.

  • KHALID SALAAM

    I sent this in on Tuesday’s, so when i mention that Rondo had 16 assists i’m referencing Monday’s game. Last night (wednesday’s game) he has 22 assists.

  • http://www.kwapt.blogspot.com KobeWearsAPurpleThong

    I live in Boston. How much you want to bet I come home one day this week and find CP3 staring back at me from the bottom of my mailbox? PLEASE get this one right SLAM. I mean, hell, I’ll buy the Rondo one if I have to, but I shouldn’t.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Awesome. And as much as the Eagles winning would be a great story, Clay Matthews is coming for Vick’s blood.

  • KHALID SALAAM

    @Anton: Clay Matthews is the truth. I know that, hopefully the Eagles know that and keep a max protect scheme in to stop him.

  • Kassandra

    That’s what I’m talking about! He deserves this. By far the best PG in the league hands down! I’m a huge fan of his game and personality lol #1 fan in Memphis, TN

  • http://www.twitter.com/retepadam Peter

    It’s early January.

    SLAM needs to let the months catch up.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    BTW, this should go on the wall: “I like old people if you haven’t guessed.”

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    Am I the only one who thinks that’s a weird pose on Rondo?

  • bravo

    lmao rondo is tryin to pose way to hard

  • Maurice Bobb

    DOPENESS!!!!

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Can we get Blake Griffin next month? Kid deserves a cover.

  • Ali Saadat

    hope i get cp3

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Maybe Blake, EJ and Baron could like, wear each other’s jerseys backwards?
    Think I’ve seen something like that before somewhere…

  • http://www.thissongissick.com Kobe4MVP

    That’s a sick cover, nice write-up Khalid. When is this hitting mailboxes?

  • Maurice Bobb

    Sorry Lang, but I’m pulling for the Eagles, too. I’m not a Philly fan per se, but I’d love the redemption story of Vick going back to where it all started and walking away a winner…

  • benno

    If you got sent cover 1 last time (lebron and dwight) does that mean i will get it again – cuz i’m from the UK – Plz send me the rondo one – i would be gutted if i got cp3

  • http://www.twitter.com/jtrain73 Jono

    Which cover do I get if I live in Colorado? I’d love to get the RR cover!

  • Mo

    Nice covers by the way. Both of them.

  • Mo

    Kassandra, how can he be the best pg in the league, hands down no less, when he can’t really shoot and shoots a ft% of 41%? It’s cool that he’s your fave pg and it’s cool that you like his personality but all that best point guard crap is crazy. LMAO.

  • Mo

    And don’t even forget he leads the league in turnovers. Best pg? LMAO. Come on now.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    IM STILL HEATED I GOT CHRIS PAULS BERT N ERNIE UNIBROW IN A SCHOOL BUS JERSEY INSTEAD OF GILS TIGER TAT COVER!!!!!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/smileyoufckers Bryan

    So deserved.

  • Idrees

    when do the suscribers get it in the mailbox? specifically, ontario?

  • GeorgeCostanza

    anyone kno what kind of shoes those are?

  • Jasmine

    Yay!! Cant Wait Till This Magazine Comes Finally Rondo Got A Cover He Hasnt Had A Cover For Like Over A Year!!!

  • http://airtsinelas21.blogspot.com Roy

    Will cop this cover for sure as soon it drops in magazine stands here in the Philippines….

  • jeks

    finally! gonna go check out the newsstand to see if I can pick this up.

  • http://slamonline.com Matt Lawyue

    Everything about this cover is excellent. Well done, guys.

  • Cameron

    So being a Celtics fan in Texas it sucks that I’ll probably get the Chris Paul issue in the mail……………….

  • Heals

    Can I get a Ric Flair “Wwwhhhhhoooooooooooooooo!” for the Rondo cover, plus y’all killed it with the color scheme. I’m copin the CP3 one even if I get Rondo in he mail just cause I feel like I owe you guys!

  • http://slamonline.com MVPballer

    People are saying Rondo can’t shoot? Fine he can’t shoot free throws, but he’s one of the leaders in FG% amongst PG’s shooting 52%. You also talk about him averaging the most turnovers, which is correct but doesn’t really matter when you dish fourteen assists PER game. You can’t hate on 2.4 steals neither, second in the league.
    He’s not best PG in the game, but he’s up there with CP3 and Deron Williams right now.

  • http://sjfklfsl.com Jukai

    I didn’t want to believe Rondo was legit, but it’s undeniable right now. Dude can flat out ball. Fantastic passing and defense, all you can want in a point (outside of the shooting). He is probably the most important player on the Celts.

  • lockon

    thanx slam but i hope this aint a regional cover. wanting to get that rondo cover. thanx slam! that’s 4 straight pg covers (2 this month) but really nice thanx! blake griffin better be up soon…

  • hoodsnake

    They will still sag off him and dare him to shoot in the playoffs

  • Valentin Faure from France

    I hope French subscriber will receive the Rajon Rondo issue !!!!!
    PLease !!!!!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    def. going to get this one, I like Rondo way more than CP3 besides, this cover just looks better. Hope BGriffin gets a cover he really deserves it.

  • hillbilly

    Heisman-esque! But, seriously…wtf? I figured they’d be holding the winter olympics in Hell before Rondo got a cover.

  • MUBWAR

    When those old tired legs (Garnett, Shaq, Ray and Pierce)retire, maybe he can sign with the heat and bring dwight with him. One big happy super friends.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Pointing to field goal percentage and using that as the sole determinat of whether someone can shoot is asinine…
    It’s just really asinine.

  • miller126
  • letsmotor

    @AllenP: I agree, a high FG% doesn’t mean you can shoot (look at Shaq!), but it does show that he doesn’t need to be a great jump shooter to be highly, highly effective offensively. besides, his jump shot has gotten a lot better. it’s his free throw shooting that needs major improvement, but that’s all mental.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Dear postalworkers please let me get the Rondo issue for my subscribtion.

  • KGmaniac

    If philly wins they play chicago..not atl unless its nfc championship

  • Jagster

    Can’t believe you guys still talking about this when these two play on the weekend.

    SMH.

  • Jagster

    @Let’smotor

    Well said, by the way.

    Yes! Rondo’s jump shooting is a lot better than many people think, and his field goal % has a lot to do with his good outside jump shooting.

    But what FG % definitely proves is shot selection. And a lot of guards that have low shooting percentages have poor shot selection. So even if you’re a good shooter technically, you can still have a poor percentage. Points guards shouldn’t have poor shooting percentages, unless they have poor shooters, take bad shots, or can’t get to the basket.

    It all comes down to your ability or decision making (or both) to shoot a decent or high percentage.

    Yeah. The Free throws are all mental with him right now. For his sake and the Celtics, I hope he gets over it.

  • Jagster

    Oh.

    Thought this was the other Rondo post, when I post that earlier question. Sorry. Lol

  • str8 from samoa

    FINALLY RONDO GETS A COVER! WOOP WOOP!

  • http://dpkst2@mail.rmu.edu daviddpk

    Well done Slam now lets give the Point Guards a rest (cover wise) unless Dwill gets another one and lets put any of the following three on the next cover:
    1) Blake Griffin
    2) Amare
    3) Kevin Love

    -Thank you.

  • dexter

    it fells like rajon’s taking things abundantly at one time….he’s been a greatest monster on celtics lineup this monstrous season and that is the reason why were watching great dazzling moves all over the court…….you guys better be careful guarding this tickle guard out….ADIOS!!!!!

  • Yann Blavec

    The 2 covers are great.

  • BostonBaller

    Enigmatic: much respect to you my man, I know you don’t like the green or Rondo but you gave props anyway. That’s what it’s about. True fan of the game. I too think BGriff is doing it in the L but i’d rather see a pictorial of his dunks in the next ish instead of a cover.He is doing what most thought Beasley would do his rook season. I better get the RR ish and not CP3 (Can SLAMDOME make it happen for a SLAM “lifer”?

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Best point guard in NBA, because overall he can do more at point, score by getting in lane, pass-assist leader, defend-steals and has attitude like Zeke, not afraid to go after his teammates.

  • LEBRON FAN!

    FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!great mag!

  • ♥R. RONDO♥

    BEST COVER EVER!!!!!!!!!
    ♥RAJON RONDO♥

  • paul

    Although I think Rondo is the best pg in the NBA, there’s no denying that both he and his team got eaten alive by Derrick Rose last night.

  • riggs

    lol @ all the rondo love now

  • Miguel

    yeah! Now that’s what i’m talking about, I just knew they did the right thing. they deserve the best cove of slam.

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  • rob stewart

    Just got my issue. Its hot

  • Herbert

    Imagine the basketball is not in the picture. that pose is gay!

  • The Dolo

    WOW. im subscibed and this came out 7 days ago and i still hvnt gotten it in the mail yet. :(

  • James Wrethman

    thank you for the rondo cover .. finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • ryan

    Overdue but worth the wait.

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  • idris

    yo i subscribed in december and STILL haven’t got ish 145

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