REAL HOOPERS: Rasheed Wallace

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  • PF/C
  • 6’10, 225 lbs
  • 4th Overall Pick, 1995 NBA Draft (Washington)
  • College: North Carolina
  • Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Career Stats: 14.4 ppg, 6.8 reb
  • 4x NBA All Star
  • NBA Champion (2003-04)
  • NBA All-Rookie Team (1995-96)

Standout Seasons: 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03

  • 2000-01: 77 GP/ 75 GS, 38.2 MPG, 19.2 PPG, 7.8 REB, 2.8 AST, 1.2 STL, 1.8 BLK, 76.6 FT%, 50.1 FG%
  • 2001-02: 79 GP/ 79 GS, 37.5 MPG, 19.3 PPG, 8.2 REB, 1.9 AST, 1.3 STL, 1.3 BLK, 73.4 FT%, 46.9 FG%, 36 3PT%
  • 2002-03: 74 GP/ 74 GS, 36.3 MPG, 18.3 PPG, 7.4 REB, 2.1 AST, 0.9 STL, 1.0 BLK, 73.5 FT%, 47.1 FG%, 35.8 3PT%

 “Ball Don’t Lie” is a quote that will be a part of basketball lore for eternity. The man who popularised that quote, Rasheed Wallace, should be immortalised alongside it. An insanely skilled bigman, with a team-first mentality and an unprecedented penchant for amassing technical fouls, Sheed is one of the most iconic hoopers of the 2000’s. His legacy may revolve around his brash on-court demeanor but we mustn’t forget the elite offense,  defense and leadership that he purveyed during his NBA journey.

Coming out of the storied University of North Carolina, Sheed was a big man who could do it all. He could shoot the three, post-up with force or finesse, find the open man, defend in the post and most importantly he could protect the rim.

The Philly native was selected by the Washington Bullets with the 4th overall pick in 1995. After a lone season in Washington, Sheed was shipped to Portland in exchange for Rod Strickland. In Portland, Rasheed would become the ‘Sheed; we know and love today. He was a focal point of the Blazers squads which went toe-to-toe with the World Champion Lakers and he was a part of the infamous ‘Jail Blazers’ era. The ups and the downs, Sheed experienced it all as the franchise centrepiece in the Rose Garden. Rasheed put his bevy of talents on display with the Blazers. Earning two All-Star berths and stringing together several seasons of high-level production.

In the 2003-04 season, Sheed was traded twice in one season. He was traded from Portland to Atlanta, then traded from Atlanta to Detroit. His shift with the Hawks was slightly longer than Carmelo Anthony’s (1 game). The 03-04 season went from being an oddity to being transcendent for Rasheed. Sheed turned out to be the missing piece for the Detroit Pistons. His all-round play, leadership, grit and determination buoyed the Pistons to the 2004 NBA Championship. In the space of one season Sheed had travelled from dysfunction in Portland to the euphoria of becoming an NBA Champion in Detroit. His 2003-04 journey is a rarity in league history. A midseason trade that actually worked.

The Pistons came close to a 2-Peat as they fell in 7 games to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2005 NBA Finals. Rasheed and the team-oriented Pistons would dominate the Eastern Conference for over half a decade. They made six straight Conference Finals appearances. Sheed, Big Ben, Billups, Rip and Tayshaun were the mega powers of the East. The ‘what-if?’ of Carmelo Anthony will always lurk over this squad. But without Melo, the ‘Bad Boys 2.0’ were the real deal.

When his golden run with the Pistons came to an end, Sheed earned another Finals berth in 2010 as a member of the Boston Celtics. Two years of retirement gave Sheed the itch to hoop again, as he joined the Knicks for the 2012-13 season. Sheed and the Garden were a match made in heaven. He became a beloved member of the Knicks old guard. Mr. Ball Don’t Lie retired for good after his debut season in New York.

Rasheed Wallace was a polarising character throughout his career. He had the talent to put up gaudy numbers but his team-first instincts hindered his individual stats (which is not a bad thing at all). His penchant to rack up technicals and suspensions at record-breaking rates drew the ire of the media and his coaches. Through all the controversy and hoopla, Sheed was able to leave the NBA a champion. One of the most iconic big men of the 2000’s, Rasheed Wallace was a ‘Real Hooper’ who demanded the respect of his peers.   

Peep Rasheed Wallace’s ‘Real Hoopers’ Mix below:

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