Rasheed Wallace to Retire With Two Years Left on Contract
That's how he will be remembered.
Wallace never did make much sense.
Wallace, whose zany antics and volatile relationship with officials often overshadowed his great basketball skills, has decided to retire, according to various reports Thursday night.
Both enigmatic and entertaining, Wallace, 35, played for 15 seasons, but he will be walking away from a contract with the Boston Celtics that includes two more years and $13 million.
Wallace is coming off a disappointing finish, struggling much of this season and frustrating coach Doc Rivers with his lack of conditioning. He ended the Finals with a painfully sore back that limited his effectiveness throughout the playoffs.
Known for his shooting, rebounding, defense and technical fouls, Wallace averaged 14.6 points and 6.7 rebounds through his career, mostly as a starter.
He averaged just 9 points and 4.1 rebounds this season as a backup center and power forward with the Celtics, but only 6.1 points and 3 rebounds in the 2010 playoffs.
Wallace had his best individual years in Portland. He averaged a career-high 19.3 points and 8.2 rebounds during the 2001-02 season, only a year after he received 41 technical fouls, an NBA record that still stands. He was the biggest reason the league changed its rules to include automatic suspensions that start with a player's 16th technical foul of the season.
Throughout his career, Wallace was among the league leaders in technical fouls and fines, feuding with officials, frustrating coaches and confounding teammates with his actions.
Combustible often was the best way to describe him. He came into the league after two years at North Carolina, which came after he was ejected from the McDonald's High School All-America Game, irritating officials from the start to the finish of his NBA career.
"Them cats are felonious, man,'' he said once after an ejection about the officials.
His happiest years, though, came in Detroit, helping the Pistons return to prominence and capture their 2004 NBA title. After winning the championship, he had a WWE championship belts made for himself and each of his teammates. And he wore his belt to every Pistons game the following season.
During the 2008 playoffs with Detroit, he was fined $25,000 for a profanity-laced tirade of officials in a game against the Celtics, his future employer. The next season -- his final one in Detroit -- he was suspended on April 1 after picking up his 16th technical of the season.
His retirement was not unexpected, although the Celtics had hoped that he would reconsider. Rivers said earlier this week on his radio show in Boston that Wallace had told him that the loss to the Lakers would be his final game.
The Celtics had hoped that Wallace could push them over the top this season, giving them enough front-court depth to get past the Lakers. He spent most of the season playing behind both Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett, but he fell behind Glen Davis in the front-court rotation.
He hit some big shots and provided some key plays in the conference final against the Magic, but he had little impact in the NBA Finals against the Lakers.
And he left the game, complaining about officials.