In his “The Players’ Tribune” article, former NBA champ Nazr Mohammed detailed the difficulties of guarding Rasheed Wallace.
During his playing days, Rasheed Wallace was a menace on the basketball court. Apart from being an extremely physical assignment for any defender guarding him, Sheed was also merciless with his trash talk. With a career average of 14.4/6.7/1.8 with 1.3 blocks per game, the Portland legend retired as a 4-time All-Star and an NBA Champ with the 2004 Detroit Pistons team.
“Rasheed was an underappreciated talent.
His touch from anywhere on the floor was just ridiculous. You couldn’t ask for more from an inside-out guy. He could knock down the three-point shot — with both hands — or take you into the post.
I played with and against Sheed throughout my career, so I got a couple of different views of him.
As an opponent, he was tough to guard because he had this deadly shot with a really high release. He also perfected what I call “The High Booty Back Down.”
When you’re guarding in the post, basic strategy calls for getting low on defense and utilizing your forearm to hold your ground. Most defenders like to place their forearm above the hip or in the low back. But with Sheed, instead of bending at the knees, he’d bend at his waist to keep his butt high, and then he’d proceed to back you down ass first. That put you in an awkward situation deciding whether to use your forearm and off hand on his butt or use your chest to hold your ground. This doesn’t work unless you’re strong enough to stay balanced. With his high release and touch, he would turn to his right shoulder and it was a bucket.
When he got angry, there was no point even trying to stop him. Your only hope was for that anger to be channeled at the refs. A pissed Rasheed Wallace meant buckets when he focused. Shaq was the same way. With these elite big guys, you really didn’t want to poke the bear.”
“I have never encountered a more hospitable person than Rasheed Wallace”: Nazr Mohammed
Wallace was famous for his on-court altercations. Nazr further disclosed in his article, how “Dirty 30” was a completely different and loving personality off the court.
“Plenty of fans were familiar with “Pissed Rasheed.” That was his persona to a lot of people. I think it’s really a shame that the fans outside of Detroit and Portland never got to see Rasheed in the same light as his teammates. A lot of people had this idea that he was some kind of hothead because of his technical fouls, but he was loved by his teammates because he was so fun to be around off the court.
When I first signed with Detroit, I knew of Sheed, but I hadn’t actually ever spent time around him. Professionally, there had always been a healthy mutual respect between us.
That year he hosted a New Year’s Eve party at his home. In all my years in the NBA, visiting different guys’ homes, I have never encountered a more hospitable person than Rasheed Wallace. He took care of every guest in that house, no matter who they were – he was the bartender, the coat check guy, the bus boy, the waiter, the butler… He just made sure everyone in attendance felt like they were at home.
The Rasheed I know is the kind of guy who would sit around the locker room and crack jokes with guys for hours.
He really became an entirely different person on the court. It was almost like he had an alter ego for basketball. He’d put on his game face and bump up his intensity level to 100. The way he approached the game of basketball was entirely different than the way he approached life. He’s pretty good at both, though.”
Certainly, the Los Angeles Lakers would benefit from Wallace’s motivating locker room behavior.