Opinion Corner: Crazy ‘Sheed helping out 18-6 KnicksIn the world of professional basketball, one stingy, once-hated veteran has been reduced from tantrums and technical fouls to a support role off the bench. And it couldn’t be working out better.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
In the world of professional basketball, one stingy, once-hated veteran has been reduced from tantrums and technical fouls to a support role off the bench. And it couldn’t be working out better.
Rasheed Wallace and the New York Knicks are off to a surprising 18-6 start, the second-best record in the NBA.
Anyone who has paid some sort of attention to the NBA since 1995 probably recalls Sheed as one of the loudest complainers with a nasty tendency to get kicked out of games.
If a call was ever in doubt, Sheed protested.
He was considered the league’s most polarizing player, set records for technical fouls and even got the longest suspension ever dished out for something that was non-violent and had nothing to do with substance abuse.
He is the original Portland Jail Blazer, but still is a two-time all-star with one a NBA championship ring.
Off the court, Sheed has had his share of problems, from having marijuana in the vehicle he and fellow Jail Blazer Damon Stoudamire were in, to threatening ref Tim Donaghy on an arena loading dock.
He is the kind of guy who has a urinal in his own bathroom and drives a 1996 Ford Bronco because he’s kind of a lunatic — as documented by MTV Cribs.
Sheed was short with the press and fans and often refused to sign autographs.
The line he made famous was “Both teams played hard, my man,” after it was his only reply in a mandatory post-game interview.
On the court Sheed was known as the man who argued every call he could. He even threw a towel in a ref’s face, drawing a two-game suspension and $10,000 fine.
He was slapped with a record 38 technical fouls in the 1990-2000 season, and the next season broke that record with 41. That’s almost one every two games.
At one time he was the player that everyone loved to hate, and deservingly so. His antics alone have spawned hundreds of basketball blogs.
But Sheed always had talent, and was once the best post defender in the game. He played hard, argued hard and talked trash hard.
His career included stops in Washington, Detroit, Atlanta, Boston, and finally now New York after he came out of retirement to continue his hard-knock ways at the age of 38.
Sheed won’t accumulate the stats necessary for a hall-of-fame induction. His numbers are good, but not Springfield, Mass.-worthy.
But why does he still have value after 15 NBA seasons? Because Wallace has reestablished himself as an important bench player, averaging 7.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and a block in 15 minutes. He’s still racking up Ts, however.
Wallace’s four technical fouls are just three off the pace set by Sacramento Kings psycho DeMarcus Cousins and retread Jermaine O’Neal, now with the Phoenix Suns. For his career Wallace has a whopping 317 technicals, trailing only Karl Malone (332) and Charles Barkley (329) all-time among NBA players.
As Barkley recently put it, “I guess he came back for his title.”
Whether you were ever a fan of Sheed and his antics, or just loved to hate the surly power forward, beware Rasheed Wallace is back — and the NBA is a more interesting place for it.
Ben Rodgers is a frequent contributor to the Opinion Corner