Sheed – 07/21/2013


Sitting here bored as hell on this Sunday so I guess I can blog about something.  With everything going on in the world today I figured that I would write about something that isn’t too serious and basically insignificant…basketball.  In my household, my father’s favorite basketball player was Moses Malone and probably Dr. J or “The Doctor”.  My Mom was a fan of some scrub backup center from the warriors named George Johnson because she thought he looked good smh (yeah Mom didn’t participate in basketball convo).  Growing up I really didn’t have a favorite because basketball wasn’t my favorite sport.  It was football, then baseball and basketball were a distant third.  I think the fact that my father pushed me into playing basketball so much may have played a part in it…Nah in all honesty football was just easier and more physical to me.  As I continued growing up we had the Magic Johnson fans and a few Dominique fans but the G.O.A.T. was Michael Jordan.  Everybody was a fan of Jordan, every kid pretended to be Jordan and who could blame them, his resume speaks for itself.  Then we add the fact that he was everywhere.  TV, movies, in magazines, hell everywhere.  Finally, we add the fact that I grew up in North Carolina and Jordan is a “god” here. Before the “ball don’t lie” yell’s, the random 3 pointer’s, the technical fouls, the championship belt, the infamous “both teams played hard my man” interview he was a power forward for the University of North Carolina.  UNC was coming off of a national championship (thanks, C-Webb) and as a 10 – 11-year old I finally grasped the concept of basketball.  One of the advantages of living in North Carolina I was able to watch every ACC basketball game.  I was an UNC fan since age 4 so this was nothing new.  So the 93 – 94 UNC team was one of my favorites.  They had Montross, Derrick Phelps, Donald Williams and Dante Calabria returning, oh yeah and Brian Reese & Salvadori.  Then you added not only Wallace but Jerry Stackhouse and Jeff McInnis to the team.  Still, baffles me to this day how in the hell this team didn’t win the championship.  Oh well, that’s college basketball for you.  As far as Rasheed’s college career goes, he was solid.  He didn’t miss many shots’s, had great touch and yelled like a damn fool whenever he dunked on someone.  I’m not sure what it was about him, maybe it was the yelling or that “spot” on his head but I became a fan of his.  After 2 years at UNC and no championship, Wallace along with Stackhouse left college early for the NBA. The 4th pick overall in the 1995 NBA draft, Rasheed Wallace.  He got drafted by the Washington Bullets who already had Juwan Howard and Chris Webber on the team.  That draft pick confused the hell out of me but whatever.  He had a solid rookie year and I think he made the winning basket in the rookie all star game ha.  Honestly, that team makes me wonder what could have been? So it’s 1996 and Rasheed get’s traded to Portland.  This was also the year I turned 14 so this was pivotal for so many reasons.  Freshman in college and I lost my love for playing basketball.  The main reason was because I stopped growing and I wasn’t that good a basketball.  I was maybe 5’7, 5’8, 170 lbs, chubby and going through this whole “awkward” stage.  While my love for playing basketball diminished I still watched the NBA faithfully.  I was unable to catch many Portland games because we didn’t have cable but I remained a huge Wallace fan.  As I continued going through high school, Wallace continued to progress as a player and Portland continued to improve as a team.  Finally, in 1998 we got satellite!!  I was finally able to catch Portland Trailblazer games, I was 16 at the time and I finally grew into my body and started playing basketball more competitively.  Growing up in my small time basically anyone over 6’1 would probably be a post player and then add the fact that I was close to 200 lbs the coach basically said I would be a post player.  When I played pick up ball people always told me to go to the post as well and I’ll be honest I wasn’t much of a fan.  That whole rebound and set pick life was not for me.  Now back to Wallace, as I continued to watch him play it dawned on me that this guy could be unstoppable on the court… if he wanted to be.  He was basically 7 feet tall, could shoot from anywhere on the court, played defense and his fade away could not be stopped.  In my opinion, he was a better shooter than Tim Duncan and stronger and an almost equal defender in comparison to KG…those were basically the power forwards I compared him to at the time.  So why wasn’t he the best?  Was it the weed smoking? The fact that the referees always pissed him off? Hell, I don’t know but it frustrated me as a fan.  Despite all of that I decided that I would pattern my game after his.  So basically my game consisted of me shooting fadeaway jumper’s, yelling, wearing air force one’s when I hooped and shooting 3 pointers at the most random times. I decided that I wouldn’t play basketball my junior year and that I would just prep for the 99-00 season aka my senior year of high school. Of course, my senior year came around and all I did was play football and run track, I just wasn’t feeling basketball like that. Portland signed Scottie Pippen.  After how he played with Houston I’m not sure why I felt like this was a good signing for Portland but I was excited.  That team had Wallace, Pippen, Bonzi, Steve Smith, Sabonis, Mighty Mouse (Stoudamire), Detlef Schrempf, Brian Grant, Greg Anthony, Jermaine O’Neal (before he got good) and my cousin Stacy Augmon aka Plastic Man (even though he rarely got any pt).  Mike Dunleavy was the coach and that team was deep as hell.  Sheed became an all-star and they really had a chance to win the championship.  I remember watching game 7 with my father and he was getting ready for work that night.  I remember him saying “looks like your boy is going to the finals”.  Hell, I was in agreement too, 15 point lead on the Lakers, game over.  Then it happened a 25 – 4 run that was punctuated by this…

This was basically the end of Rasheed and the Trailblazers in my opinion.  Rasheed had 30 points but basically disappeared in the biggest game of his career.  Once again this confused me because of all of that talent smh.  After 2000 the technical foul continued and the questions as to why can’t Sheed take it to the next level continued to linger.  Meanwhile, I was off to college, grew my hair out, started rocking the Wallace jersey and had everybody calling me Sheed lmao. I wish I actually took pictures back then because I really thought that I was Sheed smh. “Ya boy got traded to the Hawks”. What? My boy texted me saying that Rasheed got traded to the Atlanta Hawks.  I immediately turned to ESPN and saw that Wallace was traded to Atlanta and it would be a temporary stop because he would then get shipped to the Pistons.  I am always amused what the dynamic would have been on that Haws team with Wallace and Stephen Jackson. So Rasheed is traded to Detroit and the rest is history.  He becomes part of a team where he doesn’t have to be the “main guy” and he win’s.  I think I finally figured out Rasheed.  He was blessed with great talent but he just wasn’t built to be the star.  He wanted to be a team player and one of the guys.  I still feel like he could have done more with his talent but I think he is happy with who he is and his career.  The irony about him is that all of his coaches and teammates love him and say he was a great teammate, and at the end of the day that is all that matters.  Now back to the Pistons years I still can’t believe that they beat that Lakers team in 5 games.  The next year that Pistons team lost to the Spurs in the NBA finals but at least Sheed had one ring.  He continued making the playoffs with the Pistons but eventually, that part of his career ended as well.

KG and Wallace are on the same team! This would have been groundbreaking news in 2001…unfortunately this was 2009 and both players were at the end of their career.  Despite the fact that Sheed had an injury plagued and down career, the Celtics made it to the NBA finals.  I will never forget game 7 of the 2010 finals.  It kind of summed up his career.  With Kendrick Perkins being injured Rasheed started game 7.  Boston started the game going to Rasheed early and it was vintage Wallace.  He scored and played great defense but Boston went away from him and I always wonder why they didn’t go to him more.  No matter what the reason, maybe fatigue, maybe him not being so demanding and eventually fouling out Wallace couldn’t quite finish.  This game was so ironic to me because all of those years that he was physically able to dominate and play harder but didn’t now he actually had the heart and the want to take over but his body wouldn’t allow him to do it.  While in a losing effort this was my favorite Sheed moment because this was the first time I actually saw him look as if he, wait for the cliche… “left it all out there on the court”. After the finals, Rasheed retired and played in the summer league here in NC.  Every year there was a rumor that the Lakers or heat would pick him up but nothing ever happened.  Then in October of last year, he came back to play for the Knicks.  When he was healthy he played pretty well.  Unfortunately, that was rare.  Here is probably his best game as a Knick…

So this concludes my rant on my favorite NBA player of all time, Rasheed Abdul Wallace.  His career stats aren’t that spectacular and I don;t even know if he will be in the hall of fame.  Fortunately, there is a new chapter in the Rasheed Wallace saga….he is now an assistant coach for the Pistons…stay tuned

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