How Rajon Rondo's Big Brother Became the NBA's Go-To Concierge
THE CELTICS AND Washington Wizards are just a few minutes from tip-off when William Rondo calls and says to meet him in the TD Garden players’ parking lot. I’d arranged to see the game with him and had been waiting nearby, so I say okay and walk over to the lot, casually strolling past its gate and a couple of security guards. That’s sort of funny, because as neither a basketball player nor an expensive car, I clearly don’t belong here. As one of the guards gestures toward me and starts to say something, Rondo, who’s just gotten out of his car a few feet away, gives him a quick wave. Problem solved.
“I feel like everybody knows me, and I know everybody here,” Rondo says as I follow him into the arena. Then he goes about proving it. He makes small talk with a Celtics employee at the family ticket booth, says hi to the ticket-taker, and shakes hands with the usher. Working our way to his seats, we pass behind the Celtics bench, where Rondo’s little, more-famous brother, Rajon, is just being introduced to the crowd. Rondo gives the cop stationed at the bench a fist-bump and keeps on moving. Passing Section 22, two different fans get up to bro-hug him. When we finally arrive at our seats in Section 20, he greets everybody around him. At this point, I’m expecting him to start kissing babies and passing out campaign flyers.
He’s dressed sharply enough for it, anyway, wearing a white button-down shirt, gray suit jacket, gray jeans, and matching gray Nikes. He resembles his brother enough that you’d know they’re related, but whereas Rajon — the Celtics’ star point guard — looks something like an agitated baby raptor (at least on the court), Will’s face has broader, more traditionally handsome features. Also unlike his brother, he smiles. Frequently, even.
To any follower of the Celtics, it would be slightly shocking to learn that anyone named Rondo is so outgoing. After six stellar — if enigmatic — years in Boston, Rajon is known as shy and reserved. In fact, Will originally moved to town just to help Rajon through the challenges of adjusting to both Boston and the NBA. But in the process, the older Rondo started doing favors for other Celtics, too — making airport runs, arranging transportation for family members — and learned a lot about what bigtime athletes need to make their lives simpler.
Now, at 30 years old, he’s managed to leverage that experience, along with his extreme extroversion and some help from his brother, into a business that has placed him at the heart of the sports and entertainment worlds. With his two-year-old company, Superior Global Travel & Concierge Services, or SGT, his job is essentially to make life easy for pro athletes, celebrities, and other bigwigs across the country.
Rondo says it ultimately boils down to taking care of people. In other words, he’s a professional big brother.
WILL RONDO LIVES IN Dorchester with his girlfriend, their year-old baby daughter, Xion, and his 10-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, Xandréa (he just likes X’s, he says). Before moving into the city last summer, though, he was out in the suburbs, near Rajon and the Celtics’ practice facility in Waltham. I met him at a diner there one morning not too long ago for breakfast, and we were chatting about the NBA when the waitress came over. “You talking Celtics?” she asked. “Rondo comes in here.” She meant Rajon. Will laughed, and said that yes, he thought he’d spied him there before. “I’ve seen his girlfriend’s ring — it’s gorgeous!” the waitress exclaimed. “Do you know Rondo?”
“I know him, I’ve seen him before,” Will replied, smiling.