The ’08 Celtics group text is legendary. KG, Pierce, Rondo, Doc, Tony Allen, and Perk stayed in touch for more than a decade. Through all the trades and playing against each other, no one ever left the group. There were times when some members would go silent for a long time, but Ubuntu never left them. Yet, one obvious member is missing.
The ’08 Celtics made the biggest turnaround in NBA history – from 31 wins the year before to 67 wins in 2008. Before the season, Doc Rivers talked to Paul Pierce and newcomers Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, asking everyone what will they give up. Ubuntu is all about that – a broad concept involving characteristics such as unselfishness and caring that “enable the community around you.” After building their success on that principle, Ray Allen didn’t just leave. He joined LeBron in Miami.
That’s why everyone in the group text had a hard time reestablishing a relationship with Allen. Time heals old wounds, and most of the guys eventually mended (some) fences with Ray. From all the talk we heard on the topic, there’s one guy who’s not likely to change his mind – Rondo wants nothing to do with Allen. There was more than Allen leaving for Rondo to let go.
“It was brought to the table that ‘What if we trade Rondo and get CP?’ KG and Paul were like, ‘Nah we ain’t doing that.’ As great as CP is, we just won a championship, we rocking with Rondo. He’s giving us everything that we need. Ray was like ‘Nah, let’s do it.’”Kendrick Perkins, NBA Radio
For a championship team that won the title built on Ubuntu, this was an act of betrayal. It didn’t matter if Allen made the right “GM” decision; this was against the code. Rondo didn’t take this lightly, and the team figured out a way to settle this.
“Rondo ended up finding out about it, and that was it from there. It was even to the point where we brought boxing gloves to the gym, and they got on boxing gloves. We made them box it out for like two rounds.”Kendrick Perkins, NBA Radio
I can’t imagine the Celtics front office and coaches were too happy about this, but they at least had gloves on. This gives some perspective on why Rondo is so adamant not to rebuild certain bridges. If we ever get our hand on some footage of the boxing match, we’ll make sure to include it in our next mix.