Rajon Rondo’s career hasn’t gone according to the script. He is the rare NBA superstar who reached the pinnacle of his sport before he reached his peak.
While aging point guard legends Steve Nash and Jason Kidd are still chasing a championship into their late-30s, Rondo kissed the Larry O’Brien trophy when he was 22 years old, in just his second pro season and first as a full-time starter. That was in 2008. One year later, Rondo had his playoff breakout. And the year after that, he reached All-Star and superstar status.
As the Boston Celtics battle to stay in the 2010 championship picture, Rondo has taken charge as the team’s best player. Through Wednesday’s schedule, he was averaging 13.5 points, 9.8 assists and a League-high 2.4 steals per game, posting two triple-doubles along the way. In February, Rondo made his All-Star debut, and if the Celtics are going to win an 18th championship, it will be Rondo – not Ray Allen, Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett – who carries them there.
Now that he’s a star, Rondo is getting the accolades and attention that comes with the title. By gracing the cover of Dime #56 (which is on newsstands now and can be viewed in digital form at DimeMag.com ) Rondo is making his first solo national magazine cover, joining the Dime pantheon of players we gave shine to before anyone else – an exclusive group that includes Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Brandon Roy and Tyreke Evans. And like those that came before him, we doubt this will be the last time Rondo makes our cover. Rock-star photographer Gary Land, the man who’s been behind the lens for some of the best photos to ever appear in the magazine over the years (including shooting Allen Iverson for Dime #1), shot Rondo in Boston for this issue, while Aron Phillips penned the cover story.
Beyond Rondo, it’s easy to see why this became known as the “Point Guard Issue” in the office while we were putting it together. Jack Jensen wrote a feature on L.A.-to-OKC transplant Russell Westbrook, a rising superstar in his own right, while Austin Burton gives first-time All-Star but longtime superstar Deron Williams the feature treatment. We also have Chris Paul taking us first-hand through his journey from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to the NBA, and Baron Davis talks about his latest global sneaker venture.
Finally, if you watched the McDonald’s High School All-American Game last night, you saw big Jared Sullinger drop 22 points and pick up MVP honors in front of his hometown crowd in Colombus, Ohio. The McD’s trophy is just the latest piece of hardware copped by Sullinger; the Ohio State signee is also the Dime/2K Sports National High School Player of the Year, and graces the second version of this issue’s double-cover. Along with a feature on Jared written by our prep guru Jason Jordan, we also present the Dime/2K Sports High School All-American Team.
Be on the lookout for the exclusive behind-the-scenes video of our cover shoot with Rajon Rondo on dimemag.com today
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