The Celtics are fully aware of the precedent established by Parker, who improved his shooting to become MVP of the '07 NBA Finals. "Oh, we've brought that up many times in our conversations," said Ainge of his talks with Rivers. "His curse is that he's so talented, and in a deciding game of the ('08) NBA Finals of such magnitude -- with Kobe [Bryant], Ray [Allen], Paul, KG, [Pau] Gasol on the court -- Rondo was the best player in the gym." In that decisive Game 6 Rondo finished with 21 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 6 steals.
First, let me give credit where credit is due. It was Bob Ryan, not Danny Ainge or I, who first observed that Rajon Rondo was the best player on the floor in the decisive game of the 2008 NBA Finals. However, once you've emerged as a player who can step up in a decisive playoff game, especially a player in his early 20s, only the sky is your limit at that point.
I didn't start the "Rondo for league MVP" campaign immediately. On 12/3/2008, I apparently observed that, while "no MVP candidate," any point guard who can tally a triple double in 24 minutes might be worth keeping. Less than a year later, I'd seen enough. In the season de Rasheed Wallace, I declared that for the Green to return to the Finals and claim what rightly belonged to them, Rajon Rondo, aka "Shorty," needed to become Boston's D.Wade more often than not. On December 9, 2009, the curtains were pulled away, and I made clear what was implied in the previous post. It was time for Rajon Rondo to enter the MVP discussion. Magic Johnson seemed to agree. And while we're thinking about Magic, let us not forget the mind-numbing collection of posts comparing Rondo to #32 from the purple (BTW, Magic has long had a man crush on #9).
League-wide consideration of Shorty for MVP never really materialized. For one reason or another, Rondo resisted my call. But that didn't stop me from continuing the campaign last spring (here and here), this summer (here and here), and now again today. Well gang I finally have some company. ESPN broached the topic last week.
You might say, big whoop.
What difference does that make?
Ah, but recall that the NBA MVP award is selected by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada, and starting the season with a writer from ESPN mentioning your name in conjunction with said award doesn't exactly hurt your chances. It's sort of like instead of your brother standing on a street corner yelling "Rondo for President" (me), you now have national party leaders giving thought to the idea.
Rajon, are you listening?
If not now, when?