The Boston Celtics had been mired in mediocrity for over a decade, heading into the 2007-08 season. They had missed the playoffs the last two seasons and were bounced out in the first round in the two seasons prior to that. Changes had to be made and GM Danny Ainge made two blockbuster trades that landed Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in Boston.
The two of them, along with Paul Pierce, would form a Big 3 that would go on to win a title in their first season together. They would make another trip to the Finals in 2010, but after beating the Lakers in 6 games in 2008, they would lose to them in 7 on this occasion. That 2009-10 season also saw the emergence of Rajon Rondo as an All-Star and while the Celtics seemed as strong as ever on the court, tensions were mounting behind the scenes. Rondo and Allen, in particular, had developed some bad blood and Kendrick Perkins, who was also a part of that team, spoke about how they organized a boxing match to settle the beef between the two stars.
"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."
A lot of people would have paid a lot of money to see that fight and considering we have some context now, it's not surprising that Rondo had issues with Allen after he heard about it. It would, in fact, be Allen who would leave the Celtics first, as he left for the Miami Heat as a free agent in 2012, and the rest of the Celtics resented him for that move for a long time. Pierce, Garnett, and Allen did finally bury the hatchet during KG's jersey retirement earlier this year as the three of them hugged it out on the court.
We didn't get any moment like that with Rondo and we doubt we ever will, but this boxing story will definitely live long in the memory as one of the crazier locker-room incidents in the NBA.