Rajon Rondo understands Celtics fans booing him now

Associated Press

There was a time when Rajon Rondo was beloved in the Boston Garden. He was the defensive-minded, smart-passing point guard who learned from the Big Three and helped the Celtics hang another banner in 2008. He spent nine seasons in Celtics’ green.

Those days are long gone — now Rondo is hearing boos from the Boston faithful as he takes the court wearing the red uniform of the Chicago Bulls in a first-round playoff series (Chicago leads 1-0).

And he’s good with that, as he told Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“These fans are great,” Rondo said before Tuesday’s shootaround. “I wouldn’t expect anything else. A couple nice words were said when I walked out of the tunnel, but that’s Boston. They’ve been doing that for me for nine years while I was here so I don’t expect it [another way]….

“I’ve been walking the streets the last couple of days,” he said. “It’s a pretty good welcoming back — [people ask] for autographs and pictures, so they have to boo me [later]. Obviously I’ve got on a red jersey, so it’s part of it.”

That’s all of it really. They aren’t going to be retiring Rondo’s jersey in the Garden, but he had good years there and picked up a ring. He will be part of Celtics lore from the Big Three era. But that era is not now – right now Rondo plays for the enemy.

The problem for Celtics fans now is Rondo is playing pretty well, and his Bulls are proving to be the rare challenging 1/8 matchup.