Madison Square Garden is the last venue in which veteran forward Rasheed Wallace will bask in the familiar chants of “Sheeeeed.”
Wallace’s short stint with the Knicks, and his NBA career, is over as the 15-year basketball O.G. retired after playing just 21games with New York. Nagging effects from a stress fracture in his left foot led to his exit.
To most cats watching ball, Sheed was the ultimate “ghetto” antagonist. The metal lunchbox and hard–hat guy, who is also one of few 7-footers in league history—not named Dirk Nowitzki—to possess such a versatile and multi-faceted offensive game. He was a throwback player, with an old-school approach in a modern era.
When the average street cat got his first dose of Wallace, Sheed immediately became one of his favorite players. Wallace was rugged. He lived to mix it up and talk junk. He was defiant, and his corn rolls and nappy fro had him looking more like a dude that lost all of his money in a craps game, than the fourth overall pick in the ‘95 NBA draft.
Regardless of where he played, his Philly roots always accented his presence. Sheed once responded to a question about his on-court overzealousness with this justification:
“I’m not going to start the game by cracking a cat in the skull if I don't get elbowed first.”
The University of North Carolina product finished his career with averages of 14.4 points and almost 7 boards a game. His immense talent was often overshadowed by his volatile nature, aggressive play and adversarial relationship with refs. Most of them were intimidated by Wallace and couldn’t wait to chuck him from the court, as evidenced by Wallace being the all-time leader in technical fouls with 304.
A true character of the game, Sheed was a major cog on a Piston’s team that won the ‘04 NBA Championship over a seemingly invincible Lakers team. When he was motivated, Sheed was a matchup nightmare for any forward. He swatted shots, had deft shooting range and was the emotional leader for each of the NBA teams (Washington, Portland, Detroit, Boston, Knicks) he played on.