Rajon Rondo has not always been Bulls fans' favorite player. And that's putting it lightly.
Rondo was and continues to be a member of those Celtics teams that developed a heated rivalry with the Bulls. That rivalry was highlighted by that first-round playoff series in 2009, the one with all the overtime games.
You know, the one where Rondo threw Kirk Hinrich into an scorer's table and the two almost got into a fight.
But fans might be changing their tune on the Celtics point guard after hearing how much respect and admiration he has for the Bulls. Serving as a broadcaster for Comcast SportsNet New England during Monday's Bulls-Celtics matchup at the United Center, the injured Rondo praised rivals Joakim Noah and Hinrich, as well as showering compliments on Tom Thibodeau, who worked as an assistant in Boston during that memorable playoff series.
Here's some of the best of Rondo from Monday night:
"He pretty much fills up a stat sheet, reminds me a little of myself. He plays hard on both ends of the floor, but what I like about Joakim most: He competes every play. ... He's a guy you want to have on your team, does everything on the court."
"About two years ago we came to an understanding because we were always going at it with each other. But we never really understood why, but I think it's because we both love to compete. He's a guy that's going to bring it every night, and I do the same, but we don't even play the same position. So one game, we were at the free-throw line and just thought about, 'Why do we even go at each other?'"
"I love playing against Hinrich. He competes. I love playing against guys that compete. Every night he's going to bring it, no matter his matchup or his size. I remember one year in the playoffs, he checked me, Ray (Allen) and Paul (Pierce) in one game. Whatever defense the coach asks of him, he's pretty much going to do it for you."
"He's definitely a physical guard. He's one of the most physical guards that we have in our game, especially on the defensive end."
On Thibodeau and his Bulls:
"Definitely going to play with a lot of intensity. They're going to be the most physical team, try to deny you on the wings, put a body on you, elbow, whatever they've got to do to scratch and claw. But they're going to compete, every night in and night out."
"His preparation for games. Thibs was a workaholic. You never could beat him to the gym. He lived in the gym. Guy lived in the gym. I would try to get there sometimes at 6 in the morning, Thibs would be there. He's definitely putting the work in, and it's paying off here in Chicago."
Catch more of what Rondo had to say during the game in the video above.