Rasheed Abdul Wallace is a professional basketball player from the United States of America who plays as a Power Forward or a Center and is considered one of the most formidable players playing in the NBA today.
Wallace attended the Simon Gratz High School and although he was more interested in Art, he took a fancy for basketball as well. In the 1992-93 season, Wallace was named as the High School Player of the Year and was also named as a first team All-American by Basketball Times. He was also named as an All-American first team player twice, by Parade. In his senior year, Wallace received extremely limited time on court with just 19 minutes per game. Despite that, he averaged 16 points per game with 15 rebounds and 7 blocks per game.
Wallace was also named as the MVP at the Magic Johnson Roundball Classic where he scored 30 points and also became the only player ever to be ejected from the McDonald’s All-American game.
Wallace joined the University of North Carolina to unite with his mentor Dean Smith. Wallace was always in the nation’s viewfinder during his days at the University of North Carolina where he was named in the second team, All-American by the Associated Press in his sophomore year. Till date, Wallace’s career field goal shooting percentage of .635 is the highest in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
In 1995, along with Jerry Stackhouse, Wallace took the team to the Final Four stage of the NCAA tournament and at the end of the year, decided to declare for the 1995 NBA Draft having spent just 2 years at North Carolina. Wallace was picked fourth overall, by the Washington Bullets.
Wallace began his career with the Bullets and played 65 games. Due to an injury to Chris Webber, he started 51 of those games and played mostly as a power forward. Despite being physically weaker to most other centers, Wallace also played at the position and his overall performances in the season were good enough to get him to be a part of the All-NBA Rookie team at the All-Star Weekend.
After just a single season in Washington, Wallace decided to shift bases and was traded out to the Portland Trailblazers in exchange for Rod Strickland. Strickland helped the Bullets reach their first playoffs in 8 seasons while Wallace blazed away at the Trail Blazers by leading them 12 times in scoring and also ranking third in the NBA for shooting percentage.
However, with the season building up to a fitting climax, Wallace was placed on the disabled list again, with a broken thumb. However, he did return in time for the playoffs and was quite impressive in the series against the Los Angeles Lakers, which the Trailblazers ended up losing.
A long term contract began the following season for a young Rasheed Wallace and he soon became a part of the Portland community as well, especially with the Rasheed Wallace Foundation. However, there were to be issues on and off the court with Wallace recording a record 38 technical fouls in 1999-2000. The following season, he went worse, with 40 technical fouls and was also suspended for threatening a referee.
However, in 2000 and 2001, he made it to two All-Star games as he led Portland to the Western Conference Finals in 1999 and then again in 2000, only to lose both times.
In February 2004, after three more seasons with the Trailblazers, Rasheed Wallace made his way to Atlanta to play for the Atlanta Hawks. He only played one game with the Hawks, against the New Jersey Nets, scoring 20 points with 5 blocks before being traded out to the Detroit Pistons.
At a time when the Pistons seemed unlikely to go far in the post season, Wallace came in as their saviour and helped the team win the NBA Championships after beating the favourites, the Los Angeles Lakers, 4-1 in the finals. Wallace was rewarded with a 5-year, $57 million contract extension with the Pistons while he rewarded his teammates with replica WWE Heavyweight Championship belts presented to each player at the beginning of the 2004-05 regular season.
Averaging 14.5 points per game against the Miami Heat, Wallace helped the Pistons go past the favourites to meet the San Antonio Spurs for the NBA Finals. Despite some strong defense and inspirational offense by Wallace, the Pistons would lose out 4-3 to the Spurs in the finals.
The following year, Wallace continued his immaculate play on the court and helped them achieve a 64-18 record and gain the top-seed spot on the Eastern Conference. The Pistons would again go into the playoffs as firm favourites however, they would end up losing to the Miami Heat who would later go on to win their first NBA title ever.
Wallace would inspire the Pistons on more than a few occasions. One of the most memorable events happened in a game in March 2007, against the Denver Nuggets. Wallace threw a 60-footer shot off a steal off an inbound pass. With just 1.5 seconds to go, Wallace sent the game into overtime and a fast-reducing Palace crowd who had decided that the game was lost, were the only losers that night as Wallace led the Pistons to a 113-109 overtime win.
Wallace started 2007-08 as a center after Chris Webber’s contract was not renewed. This put Antonio McDyess as the starting forward with Wallace playing center. Dominating the post, Wallace was unstoppable during the season and an injury to Kevin Garnett meant that Wallace got the call up to the 2008 NBA All-Star game to become his fourth appearance.
In the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals, the Pistons would lose to the Celtics and in the six times that the Pistons had reached this stage of the season, Wallace had instigated 5 of them. However, a loss to the Celtics meant that the team would be reshuffled and Wallace went back to being #30 again, from #36.
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