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Rajon Rondo mentored young kids in Chicago before joining Bulls

During this year’s free agency, the Chicago Bulls have been one of the busier teams in the NBA. They traded their franchise player and former league MVP, Derrick Rose, to the New York Knicks. Then, they watched charismatic leader Joakim Noah made the move to the Big Apple as well.

Of course, while subtracting, they were also bringing in reinforcements. The arrival of four time All-Star Rajon Rondo and former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade completed what has been an activity-filled couple of the weeks for the franchise.

Before the former Sacramento Kings guard agreed to move to the “Windy City,” Rondo had been making strides to help out children from a challenging Chicago neighborhood. It all started when 10 African-American middle school boys jumped into a private shuttle to take them to a fancy restaurant paid by an un-named NBA player. They were expecting a player from the Bulls or someone who was born and raised in the same city as them. But to their surprise, it was someone unexpected, maybe the last person they thought of. It was Rondo.

“They need black mentors and black men as role models,” Rondo told The Undefeated. “The biggest thing I can offer is my time. They need someone who knows that they care and if they have a question, they can ask.”

He talked to the kids and asked about their daily lives. He found out that only one of them was living with their father, and another one mentioned that he had to walk a long way home everyday to keep from getting beat up. It was heartbreaking for him to hear their stories.

“There were a lot of real conversations,” Rondo said. “A lot are worried about being shot. Most of them are the only men in their house and they have to figure out how to help their family eat. They have to worry about what gangs to join and someone beating them up on the way home. Having the platform that I have now, I got to do something…

“The kids struck with me with the way they think. The things they have to do every day that people don’t realize. The struggles. A lot of people don’t realize it. I want to show them different things in life. Dream bigger.”

The dinner lasted twice as long as the original plan of two hours. Rondo then took pictures with them and handed out $50 gift certificates to each of them to help them out for Thanksgiving. They also had the chance to watch the game between the Bulls and Kings, and as expected, they cheered for their new hero and friend, Rajon.

The Kentucky-native is now planning to pay for one of the kids’ tutoring and plans to have them join his basketball camp. He also reached out to the kids’ school principal. Chinyere Okafor-Conley, and offered help when he found out she got into an accident.

Now that he has signed with Bulls, he has said that he is in from start to finish for these boys, which now call themselves “The Rondo 10.”

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