Slamadamonth, SLAM #107: Rasheed Wallace
Jan. 24, 2007: Sheed wreaks havoc on Emeka Okafor in Charlotte.
It wasn’t supposed to happen. Rasheed Wallace finding peace, that is. On the NBA’s “never gonna happen” list, it was right between Isiah Thomas making a smart mid-level signing and Tim Duncan abandoning the post to become a three-point specialist.
But it did happen. Rasheed Wallace finding peace, that is. Dealt to Detroit after a quick stopover in Atlanta, he joined a team with a purpose. Larry Brown bound them together with discipline, Ben Wallace led them with an iron fist. Sheed joined like-minded individuals in Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton—one-time cast-offs out to prove everybody wrong. And they did exactly that. An NBA title can make a lot of wrongs right. And Rasheed was finally on the road to redemption. Redeemed, even. (He’d still do things like lead the League in techs, but with 16 instead of his amazing 2000-01 total of 41.)
But nothing can last forever. Brown, whose tough-love approach actually worked in Detroit, left and was replaced as coach by the soft Flip Saunders. Big Ben, the linchpin of the title squad, signed with the Pistons’ rivals, the Chicago Bulls. Meaning Sheed—against his wishes—would be forced to take on some of Ben’s old pivot duties. And the Championship just seemed further and further away.
Nothing lasts forever. Rasheed Wallace finding peace, that is. Just ask Emeka Okafor.