Why Rajon Rondo is retiring two years after his last NBA game

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Rajon Rondo helped the Boston Celtics beat the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals.

He and the Celtics lost to the Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals.

He won another NBA title in 2020 as a member of the Lakers.

He played in nearly 1,000 games for nine different teams during 16 NBA seasons.

He played his last game nearly two years ago.

And now Rondo has made it official — he’s retired.

During an appearance on the “All the Smoke” podcast that was posted Monday, the 38-year-old point guard was asked if the NBA had seen the last of him as a player. Rondo was quick and emphatic with his answer.

“Absolutely,” he told hosts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. “Yeah, I’m done. I’d rather spend time with my kids.”

Later in the podcast, Rondo referred to himself as “a full-time dad, whenever I can be.”

Rondo was arrested in Indiana in January on misdemeanor charges related to firearm and drug possession. He was pulled over after a caller reported a black 2022 Tesla that Rondo was driving was traveling recklessly on I-65 southbound in Bartholomew County, according to Indiana State Police.

During the stop, the trooper smelled marijuana coming from the car and conducted a search, police said. Marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a firearm were found in Rondo’s possession, according to police.

Police said that Rondo is “prohibited from possessing the firearm due to him having a protection order in place against him.” A juvenile who was also in the car was released to a family member, police said.

A hearing is scheduled for June 13.

Rondo was selected 21st overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 draft but was traded the same day to Boston, where he spent the first eight-plus seasons of his career. During that time, Rondo led the league in assists per game twice and steals once. His 990 steals and 4,474 assists with the team rank third and fourth all-time for Celtics players.

After being traded to Dallas during the 2014-15 season, Rondo spent the second half of his career bouncing from team to team, leading the league in assists as a member of the Sacramento Kings in 2015-16. Following his time in Boston, Rondo spent consecutive years on the same roster just once, with the Lakers in 2018-19 and 2019-20. He was considered a key role player on the LeBron James/Anthony Davis-led Lakers team that won the NBA title in 2020.

Rondo split the following season between the Atlanta Hawks and Clippers before returning to the Lakers to start the 2021-22 season. He finished that season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, playing his 957th and final NBA game on April 10, 2022.

And, Rondo told Barnes and Jackson, he “loved every minute of it.”

“I appreciate the brotherhood that I was able to share and bond and grow with over the years,” Rondo said. “I’ve learned so much in this game and it’s made me the man who I am today, you know?”

He added: “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 understood what it took to get there and I was blessed and fortunate to have the right people around me to keep me going when times weren’t as good, to persevere, understood that cream always rises to the top.”

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