Kendrick Perkins: Ray Allen And Rajon Rondo’s Boxing Match Was A Key To Celtics’ Last Championship

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

According to former Boston Celtics player-turned-analyst Kendrick Perkins, the 2008 NBA champion Celtics had some internal problems that they had to hash out in order to win the franchise’s 17th title. And they did that in hilarious fashion.

Big Perk claims that 2007-2008 Boston had to settle the beef between star players Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen. But instead of a typical sit-down to air it out, boxing equipment so the two could box to hash things out. Was it effective?

Well, according to Kevin Garnett, “Anything’s Possible.”

Don’t you love it when retired basketball players tell all-time great locker room stories? During their playing days, there was a code of silence, which included keeping certain events and situations between players in-house. After one walks away from the game for good, they tend to tell stories of lore about what goes on during these seasons, while we fans sit by and speculate.

Thanks to Kendrick Perkins, we as fans get insight as to what really happened between Allen and Rondo and how they were able to set aside their differences to capture that 2008 world title.

Perkins appeared on JJ Reddick’s “The Old Man and the Three” podcast to discuss a multitude of topics regarding him and his career path. During the podcast they eventually began speaking about the ’07-’08 Celtics who won the championship that year.

One of the issues that arose with that team was the beef between point guard Rajon Rondo and three-point assassin Ray Allen. While many teams have different methods of settling feuds between two teammates, the Celtics, according to Perk, had a their won unique way of approaching the situation.

“When things started to go south, in my opinion, the first incident was when Ray was pushing so hard to trade Rondo for CP3 and it got back to Rondo. I think right there we started having a little friction. We made Ray and Rondo actually box it out. They had so much beef. We got to the practice facility, we bought the boxing gloves, and they actually had to box it out.” Perk said on Reddick’s podcast.

That whole situation is not only funny, but legendary as well, considering they won the championship that same year. Doc Rivers and company might be looked at as geniuses at the time for letting those two take their frustrations out and letting all that anger and tension culminate in a ring. 

As Perk described it on the podcast, Allen was pushing for Chris Paul to be traded to the Celtics (who knows what type of dynasty that would’ve turned into) and Rondo was just beginning to establish himself as an All-Star caliber facilitator. Allen, who was already a perennial All-Star, was still playing some of his best basketball after being acquired by the Celtics .

There was a lot of ego-clashing in that locker room, and a boxing match was just what they needed to finish that season off.

Ultimately though, four seasons later, Allen would leave to join the Miami Heat, helping them capture a championship, to the dismay of the Celtics, who had lost to Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals just a year before.

This hurt the Celtics, and they hated Allen for it. Even though Allen and the Celtics didn’t get along after this move, they forgave him years later at Kevin Garnett’s jersey retirement where they hugged it out, but Rondo still wasn’t fond of Allen. 

Though the sparring matches between Rondo and Allen were obviously kept private, people would definitely pay top dollar to see them fight. The glory days of the NBA are gone, but the stories that helped shape the league and its greatest teams will always captivate the fans.

Given the era we’re in, and how just a few days ago NFL players Adrian Peterson and Le’veon Bell agreed to a boxing match, there is nothing that is really stopping Allen and Rondo from having a public boxing match.

Though it’s doubtful this will ever occur, it would make for good entertainment, but either way this is an incredible locker room story between two basketball greats, and if it wasn’t for Kendrick Perkins we would’ve never known about it.