Thanks For The Memories, Rasheed Wallace
The most versatile, brash, outspoken and hip-hop member of the 1995 NBA Draft class retired this week. Nope, it’s not Kevin Garnett (and it’s certainly not Bryant Reeves or Chris Anstey)—it’s his former teammate with the Boston Celtics, Rasheed Wallace.
If you’re a glass-half-empty person you might look back at Sheed’s career and say he didn’t live up to expectations (some experts say he had the talent to be the best power forward to play the game). If you look at the glass as half full, then you’ll see his career—and personality—will never be duplicated. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, team by team.
Washington Bullets (now Wizards): As a brash young power forward drafted out of North Carolina, Rasheed didn’t exactly set the NBA alight in his first year, but he wasn’t a bust either. However, the Wizards quickly shipped Sheed to Portland for point guard Rod Strickland before his sophomore NBA season.
Rasheed falls victim to Chris Webber’s rookie hazing in Washington
Portland Trail Blazers: Part of the reason the Blazers traded away Strickland was because he could be moody. Well didn’t they get a surprise when Rasheed Wallace landed on their doorstep. Sheed was moody, but at the other end of the spectrum to Strickland—you could call him “hyper-moody” as opposed to Strickland’s “broody-moody.” The team was jokingly referred to as the “Jail Blazers” because Rasheed racked up double-doubles and technical fouls on a nightly basis—in fact, he’s the NBA’s all-time leader in techs. Portland is where Rasheed came up with his first catchphrase, “both teams played hard,” used when reluctantly speaking to reporters after a game (if you didn’t speak to them you’d get fined by the NBA). On occasion, Rasheed would answer every question with simply “both teams played hard.” This clip might sum up Sheed’s career in Portland to a “T” (pun intended) as he gets thrown out of the game for looking at a ref the wrong way.
Atlanta Hawks: As part of a complicated, multi-team trade to Detroit, Rasheed had to play one game as a member of the Atlanta Hawks. What other player would be part of such a crazy deal where they have to suit up for a team for a single game? (The answer? None in NBA history that we know of.)
Detroit Pistons: Playing with the Pistons was where Rasheed stamped his imprint on the NBA. Forget the NBA Championship he won with them in 2003–2004. It was during his time with the Pistons that Sheed produced two far greater achievements—first, he created the phrase “ball don’t lie” (to be used when an opponent is shooting foul shots. If they miss the free throw, in Rasheed’s world that means the foul shouldn’t have been called by the ref as the “ball don’t lie.” Secondly, you can’t ignore the WWE-style championship belts he had made for himself and his teammates after they won the title. Oh, and let’s not forget Rasheed leading the Pistons in their special version of “Jingle Bells.” The “remix” kicks in at 0:49.
Boston Celtics: It’s common knowledge that Rasheed mailed it in during the regular season with Boston last year. Was it a regression back to his lazy “Jail Blazer” ways, or was it a savvy veteran saving his body for the playoffs? Regardless of why he coasted through 82 games, Sheed kicked himself into gear during the playoffs, helped the Celtics upset LeBron’s Cavs and got the Celts just two made field-goals away from winning the whole damn thing against the favored Los Angeles Lakers.
With some “creative” officiating taking place in the last two games of the NBA Finals, there were rumors that Sheed pulled the plug on his career immediately after Game 7 out of frustration, but with the offseason to think it over, he’s called it quits for good. Happy trails Mr. Wallace!
(Oh, and how’s this for a fitting note for Rasheed to bow out on: His mother was ejected from an exhibition game featuring NBA moms against NFL moms a few days ago. He got it from his momma!)
If you’re still not a Sheed fan after reading this, go check out 100 Reasons (and more) to love Rasheed Wallace.