Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo is being credited by Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel for being the “biggest helper” in his recovery from ACL surgery. Noel missed his entire rookie season with the injury and is not ready to start his NBA career. In an interview with CBS Sports published Friday, the young center cited Rondo as a big influence while working his way from surgery.
Noel, a native of Everett, Massachusetts, grew up a Celtics fan and admired Rondo already. He admired him even more with the way he was able to come back from his own ACL injury. Rondo missed half of last season working his way back to full strength and was one of the players who offered Noel support and guidance.
In the interview, Noel said, “He was definitely the biggest helper through this whole process, he actually gave me his phone number and told me I could hit him up whenever about it. Being from Boston, watching him growing up, and he went through it and he came back as strong as possible, actually before me, so it gave me a lot of confidence, having his good faith.”
Noel is a big key in the 76ers rebuilding process. He has turned to veteran players like Rondo to obtain much of his knowledge about the professional game. The fact that he grew up a Celtics fan made his interaction with Rondo even more special.
When asked if it was crazy getting to know Rondo on a personal level, he said, “Yeah, definitely. That’s definitely what made it even more of a thrill. Being able to interact with Rondo and get good advice from him, cause he’s more of a veteran point guard now in this league, gone through so much with the Big 3, he’s a world champion, he’s a player who’s very mature in this league now. So definitely, it was crazy. I took a lot from him.”
Although Rondo’s future with the Celtics remains up in the air, it is good to see some of the positive influences he is having on young players throughout the NBA. Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins has called Rondo the best point guard in the league and Celtics rookie Marcus Smart is looking forward to working with and behind Rondo if he remains with the team. The positive statements made about Rondo are starting to offset the negative reputation he has received in the past.